Group Title: The history of Acadia : the story of the Acadian's quest for survival in the New World
Title: The History of Acadia : the story of the Acadian's quest for survival in the New World
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 Material Information
Title: The History of Acadia : the story of the Acadian's quest for survival in the New World
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Leuthold, William
Publisher: William Leuthold
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1978
Copyright Date: 1978
Subject: Arcadia
Ancient Greece
General Note: AFA HP document 463
General Note: Completed for UF course AE682
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Bibliographic ID: UF00099629
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text
The story of the Acadian's
quest for survival in the
New World.


Bill Leuthold
AE 682
Winter 1978
University if Florida
College of Architecture


Acadia can best be describe

from 1603 to 1763, that now

This land covered all of No

Edward Island, and extended

as far south as the Penobsc

Magdalen Islands. The term

French origin who resided i

later. The Acadians had a

with the English settlers i

the economic benefits of fi

English took Acadia many ti

treaty. This made for a bi

when the English forcefully

territories in the middle 1

d as the land, occupied by the French

makes up the Canadian Maritime Provinces.

a Scotia, Cape Breton Island, Prince

as far north as the Gasp6 Peninsula,

ot River, and sometimes included the

Acadian applied only to the people of

n this area, not the English who came

strange history, filled with battles

n Massachusetts who wanted the land for

shing, trapping, and trading. The

mes, only to lose it again in an English

tter rivalry which eventually ended

moved the Acadians out and into their



The French first settled the area of St. Croix in 164, three
Sroix in 1604, three
years before the English settled in Jamestown. This settlement was
Tnis settlement was
led by Pierre Du Gua de Monts, who acted as a resu.t of a grant from

the French King Henry IV, who offered de Monts all land lying between

40 and 46 degrees north latitude in America.1 De Monts led a group

of 79 men to the Acadian land and following a brief survey of the

land surrounding the Bay of Fundy he settled on an island at the

mouth of the St. Croix River. Some men returned to France before

winter, but of those who stayed only eleven remained well after the

very harsh weather.

During the summer of 1605 one of du Monts' associates, Grave'

Du Pont arrived at St. Croix with two ships, supplies, and a rein-

forcement of men. They then searched for a better place to stay,

deciding to move across the bay to a site on the Annapolis Basin

where they founded the settlement of Port Royal. Du Pont and Samuel

de Champlain remained there with 45 men through the winter of 1605

while de Monts and Jean de Biencourt de Poutrincourt returned to


When they returned in 1606 they set out to establish the

little settlement by sowing vegetables and field crops, building

a lime kiln, and a charcoal fired kiln. They also cut paths from
the settlement to the fields and activities. The residents spent
much of their time tending their fields, fishing, and collecting

shellfish. They had a good winter and as spring came around they

set out sowing seeds and building a gristmill for their expected

harvest when news was brought that de Monts' charter had been


revoked. After samples were obtained to take to the king, the

settlement was abandoned.

The first action that would eventually lead to controversy

took place in 1606 when a charter was issued in England to the

London and Plymouth companies all territories between 34 and 45

degrees north latitude.7 This, it can easily be seen, includes

most of the land which was in de Monts' grant.

In 1610, after de Monts' charter was restored, the Port Royal

settlement was reestablished by Poutrincourt and his son Charles

de Biencourt. They set out to sow crops and prepare for the

winter. Charles returned to France before winter, but returned

in the spring with two Jesuit priests, along with some additional

men and his mother. With the priests there was some trouble as

they wanted to set up a mission while everyone else in the settle-

ment wanted a trading post. After much disagreement about the

mission vs. trading post affair the priests left with Marquise

de Guercheville to set up a mission at St. Sauveur on Mt. Desert

off the coast of present day Maine.

Shortly following this move was the first physical battle

between English and French forces. It was brought about due to

the aforementioned conflict of charters between the two countries.

Samuel Argall, a trader-freebooter out of Jamestown was authorized

by English Governor Sir Thomas Dale to dispose of any French peo-

ple south of 45 degrees north latitude.q He succeeded to sack the

Jesuit settlement at St. Sauveur, then Port Royal.

When Poutrincourt returned to Port Royal in 1614, finding it


almost destroyed, he decided that the whole thing was not worth

the trouble and headed straight back to France. But his son,

Biencourt, with Claude de Saint-Etienne de La Tour and his son

Charles de Saint-Etienne de La Tour decided to establish a fur

trading post. In 1615, when Poutrincourt was killed in France,

Biencourt claimed his title for rights and claims to Acadia.

For most of the following decade Biencourt and his assoc-

iates lived at Port Royal, dealing mostly in fur trade. They

traded for most of their food and supplies so agriculture was

not an important need.

More British conflict was threatened in 1621 when Sir William

Alexander, a Scotsman, received a charter to settle the territory

of Acadia and rename it Nova Scotia, or New Scotland. In 1622

he came over and settled in Newfoundland. He scouted Acadia in

1623 but decided not to stay and returned to Scotland. In 1628,

after Charles de Saint-Etienne de La Tour had moved the French out

of Port Royal, Alexander returned and formed a Scottish settlement

there. Another Scottish settlement was founded at Port Baleine on

Cape Breton Island in 1629 by James Stewart with fifty settlers.

This settlement, though was captured and sacked by the French,.led

by Captain Charles Daniel who deported everyone there.

During this period the English and Scottish were actually in

control of the territory, but in 1632 their leadership came to an

end with the Treaty of St. Germaine-en-Laye when the British hold-

ings were peacefully returned to the French.

Following the treaty Cardinal Richelieu appointed his cousin,

Isaac de Razilly as lieutenant general of Acadia. Razilly then


appointed Charles de Menou d'Aulnay de Charnisay as his second in

command. Richelieu also assumed that Charles de La Tour, who had

been named lieutenant general of the country of Acadia, Fort Louys,

and Fort de La Tour in 1631 would also come under Razilly's juris-

diction. La Tour though was involved in fur trade in the St. John

River Valley and "refused to be subservient to any one man or any

one nation."

La Tour, who would have nothing to do with d'Aulnay, was strug-

gling with the English over control of the fur trade east of the

Penobscot River, and in December, 1633, destroyed an English trad-

ing post, killing two men. This was followed by a push west to the

Kennebec River.

When Razilly heard of this he sent d'Aulnay to attack a Plymouth

trading post at Penobscot. La Tour was instructed to assist but he

refused which caused much friction between himself and d'Aulnay.

This attack also caused d'Aulnay trouble with the English, as they

were not too happy in having a post attacked. Leaders of the Ply-

mouth company immediately sent troops to recapture the outpost but


At this time-the leaders of the Massachusetts company, real-

izing that they needed a source of money and supplies, decided the

time was right to get into fur trading on the Penobscot River area

and offered assistance to the French, acting as a middle man between

between La Tour and Europe.

Razilly died in 1635, leaving d'Aulnay in control. La Tour,

wanting the control instead of d'Aulnay, began a power struggle


that was to last for the next fifteen years. While these two men

waged their own civil war, Massachusetts forces were creeping up

on each of them, d'Aulnay from the Atlantic with fishermen setting

up camps to dry fish and on La Tour by gradually moving into his

fur trapping territory in the Penobscot River Valley.

La Tour then reacted to both his problems by sending an assoc-

iate, Monsieur Rochett, a Huguenot, to Boston to negotiate a comm-

ercial treaty with Massachusetts and to obtain military assistance

against d'Aulnay. Rochett emphasized that La Tour was sympathetic

to their Protestant cause while d'Aulnay was "surrounded and man-

ipulated by a host of Roman Catholic priests'. He also stated that

d'Aulnay was totally against their fur trading activities in the

Penobscot River valley while La Tour was willing to promise them

access to the rich fur trading area of the St. John River Valley.

They eagerly accepted the trading proposal but would not aid La

Tour in his war with d'Aulnay. Later though, after d'Aulnay attacked

a British trading vessel and La Tour personally pleaded with Gov-

ernor Winthrop, he agreed to let La Tour hire ships and men to fight

d'Aulnay at Port Royal.

With the English ships La Tour went to the d'Aulnay outpost

at the mouth of the Penobscot River and easily won. They then went

to Port Royal but did only minor damage, not taking control.

d'Aulnay protested violently to the English about their inter-

vention in French affairs and attempted to strike a peace. This

resulted in the Treaty of October, 1644, stating that they would

keep peace with d'Aulnay if he would keep peace with them. (see ap-



The treaty opened trade with d'Aulnay and La Tour but it did

not ease any tension between the two Frenchmen. They continued to

battle until 1647 when d'Aulnay destroyed La Tour's fort on the St.

John River and was confirmed governor of all Acadia. With this

La Tour was forced into exile to Quebec. Things were peaceful until

d'Aulnay was killed in a boating accident in 1650. La Tour then

received a new commission and returned to Acadia. There was still

a struggle with d'Aulnay's people until he married d'Aulnay's widow.

Things were smooth until d'Aulnay's creditor, Emanuel Le Borge,

came and took Port Royal as his own, sending La Tour out to form a

colony at the St. John River.

Le Borgne ruled for only one year as English troops headed by

Robert Sedgwick took control of Port Royal and all of Acadia. They

ruled peacefully for thirteen years until the Treaty of Breda,

signed in Europe without much thought about the English in Acadia,

gave control back to the French. Although the treaty was signed

in 1667, the governor (Thomas Temple) refused to leave until 1670

when he was forced out, giving control to French governor Andigne

de Grandfontaine.

Grandfontaine stayed only three years, saying that his position

was useless and that New England still had control of the territory.

The English desire for more control was demonstrated in 1674 when

they decided to push the border up the coast from the Kennebec

River to the Penobscot River, which at the time was the home of

the Acadian capitol. They had official claim to the land due to a

grant made by Charles II to the Duke of York in 1664 stating that


he possessed all territory between the Kennebec River and St. Croix.,,

A very strange thing happened in 1674 when Nova Scotia was

captured by a Dutch sea captain, Jurriaen Aernoutsz. He was com-

missioned because the Dutch were at war with both England and France

and he was to attack English and French settlements in northeast

North America. Aernoutsz, in his one month attacking Nova Scotia

confiscated considerable bootyand captured every member of the

French garrison including the new governor, Jacques de Chambly.,,

He declared the territory now belonged to the Prince of Orange,

going so far as to rename it New Holland. He then named John Rhodes

as commander of the Dutch colony in New Holland. Rhodes was very

serious about his command but soon overstepped his bounds and was

arrested for piracy after he stole some goods from trading ships

in the area. He was banished and control was returned to the French

in 1678 under the leadership of Michel Leneuf de La Valliere.

In the insuing years the Massachusetts colony became much

stronger but France maintained a declining control when in 1686

they began a counter offensive against the English colony. Their

aims were to regain control over the fur trapping region to the

Kennebec River, to try to break their economic dependence on Mass-

achusetts, and to mount a more aggressive policy towards the English.

Louis-Alexandre des Friches de Meneval was appointed governor to

carry out the new policies. With this new policy in full gear the

New Englanders decided that they didn't like it and declared war

in 1689.

In 1610 Sir William Phips captured Port Royal and destroyed

Chedabucto but he let success go to his head and moved on to Quebec

and failed. In 1691 the French regained control and appointed


Joseph Robinau de Vilebon as governor.

In 1692 Phips again went in to flex his muscle in Acadia and

succeeded to open up free trade with the Acadians.

The French remained in control of Acadia until 1710 when

Francis Nicholson, spurred by Samuel Vetch's proposals of the nec

essity of the British taking control of Nova Scotia for economic

reasons, led about 300 British (not New Englanders) troops in fou

ships to take over Port Royal. This was done with almost no defe

and the Union Jack was raised over the renamed Fort Anne in Octob

In the festivities Vetch was named governor of Nova Scotia. This

marked the end of French rule of Port Royal, which was renamed

Port Annapolis by the British.

This proved to be France's last stand in Nova Scotia, as the

Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 granted Nova Scotia to the British, lea

ing only Cape Breton Island and Prince Edward Island for the Acad

Those Acadians that did move became very protective of their

new land. They established Louisbourg as their capitalin 1718 an

began building the great fortress in 1720. Louisbourg quickly

established itself as a fishing and trading depot. Although Loui

bourg presented no real threat to New England, it was captured by

English troops in 1745, only to be returned in the Treaty of Aix-

la-Chapelle in 1748.

In 1749 the British made their first real attempt to settle

in Nova Scotia by establishing a naval base at Halifax. This set-

tlement was founded by Lord Cornwallis, and included about 2000

people of all different backgrounds.7 They quickly formed a close

community with an active seaport.


When the French and Indian war began in 1754, the British went in

and tried to get the Acadians to take an oath of allegiance to

Britain, but they all refused. With this in mind Lieutenant Gov-

ernor Charles Lawrence thought that such a large group of anti-

British people would be unsafe for the English colonies so he dev-

ised a plan to expel all the Acadians. On hearing his orders from

Lawrence, Col. Robert Moncton commanded his New England troops to

begin the nasty business of burning the Acadian settlements, slau-

ghtering their livestock, and herding the Acadians like cattle

to various ports along the Bay of Fundy. It has been estimated

that between 6000 and 7000 Acadian men, women and children, out

of a total population of only around 9000 were deported during the

last four months of 1755. These people were distributed among the

British colonies from Massachusetts to South Carolina. Several

hundred escaped and made their way to Louisiana where their culture

still survives with the people now known as "Cajuns".



The problem of religion is apparent when you realize that

the French were Roman Catholic and the English were strict Prot-

estant (in fact the main reason for coming to America was to escape


The first complaint I could find was that of John Winthrop,

the Puritan governor of Massachusetts who when finding out about

the French regaining control of Acadia stated, "The French, being

Papists, are likely to prove ill neighbors." They were especially

nervous since their own city of Boston was built as a "bulwarke

against the kingdom of Antichrist which the Jesuits labor to rear

up in all places of the world," and now the forces of Antichrist

were threatening their own existence. They responded to the news

of their Catholic neighbors by building a fort at the mouth of

Boston Harbor. They never had any trouble getting the people of

their town excited to build a fort or to fight a battle against

the Catholics because the anti-Catholic sentiment was very strong.

This hatred of Catholicism had its roots in Europe where at

this time, Protestantism was under attack. Cardinal Richelieu, the

most powerful man in France, was procecuting Protestants throughout

France, and this was typical everywhere else.

The French, though, were not as concerned with the difference

in religions as the English. La Tour even used religion as a tool

to use the English. He sent an associate to Boston in 1641 to

persuade them to help La Tour fight against d'Aulnay. La Tour

was very shrewd in sending Monsieur Rochett, who was a Huguenot,

to do his dealing. Rochett emphasized that La Tour was sympathetic

with the Protestants and that d'Aulnay was surrounded and manip-


ulated by a host of Roman Catholic Priests.

His stand was strengthened when he sent his first lieutenant

to speak with Governor Winthrop personally. Winthrop noted in

his diary...

Here came a French shallop with some fourteen men,
where one was La Tour's lieutenant. They brought
letters from La Tour to the governor, full of com-
plements, and a desire of assistance from us against
Monsieur d'Aulnay. They stayed here about a week,
and were kindly entertained, and though they were
Papists, yet they came to our church meetings; and
the lieutenant seemed to be much affected to find
things as he did, and professed he never saw so good
order in any place. One of the elders gave him a
French testament with Marlorat's notes, which he kind-
ly accepted and promised to read.



Most of the political problems between Acadia and New England

can be applied to the fact that both mother countries were too

far away and to interested in themselves to care much about these

tiny colonies. France and England just didn't seem to know what

the colonies were doing.

The first example of this lack of communication came in the

original charters, where de Monts was given all land between 40

and 46 degrees latitude in 1603, and the London and Plymouth

companies were given the land between 34 and 45 degrees north

latitude. This made both groups believe that they were in control

of the same piece of land which led directly to Samuel Argall's

raid on Port Royal and St. Sauveur.

Other situations that are similar are those in treaties.

At times the New Englanders would really fight hard to take control

of an Acadian settlement only to lose it in a treaty signed between

two distant countries where the New Englanders would have to give

up their conquered land so that England could have some island

they had never heard of before. This happened time and again and

with each treaty the New Englanders would become more resentful

of their mother country.


The Indians:

The Indians were the constant allies of the French during

the Acadian time. The main tribes concerned were the Micmac,

the Abenaki and the Malecite. These tribes traded with the Aca-

dians, were servants in the Acadian homes, were preached Cathol-

icism by the French Jesuits, and even intermarried with the French.

This relationship was looked upon very poorly by the Puritan Eng-

lish in Massachusetts.

Sometimes this allegiance would get the French people into

trouble, such as the time in the summer of 1676, when the Indians

were waging war in the northern region of Massachusetts totally

independently from the French. The English immediately assumed

that this was a French led battle, as seen in the English reverend

Mathers statement, "It is too evident that a French coal hath kind-

led this unhappy fire."

Mather was wrong though, because it was Massachusetts which

had provoked the fighting and even the guns the Indians were using

were of English origin.

Much of the Indian hatred was brought on by the English them-

selves, as can be seen in Mather's writings...

1. Because the English refused to pay that

yearly tuibute of corn, agreed upon in the

Articles of Peace (of 1678) formerly conclu-

ded with them by the English Commissioners.

2. Because they were invaded in their fish-

ery at Saco-River, by certain Gentlemen, who

stopped the fish from coming up the river with

nets and sains. This they were greatly af-

fronted at, saying, They thought (though the


English had got away their lands, as they

had, yet) the fishery of the rivers had been

a priveledge reserved entire unto themselves.

3. Because they were abused by the English.

4. But the fourth and main provocation was

the granting or patenting of their lands to

some English; at which they were greatly en-

raged, threatening the surveyor to knock him

on the head if he came to lay out lands there.

5. To these may be added the common abuses

in trading, viz, drunkenness, cheating, etc.

which such as trade much with them are sel-

dom innocent of.



Since the early days when the English discovered a rich

natural resource, "the knob-headed, richly fat, and succulent

codfish," off the coast of Nova Scotia, they were interested in

possible economic gains that were possible in the region.

One of the main economic factors in the English fishing

trade was the need to put ashore for drying the fish. At times

of disagreements though the French would not allow these activ-

ities. This caused much concern in the English colonies as it

caused an economic problem, since without the drying, the fish-

ing boats could not preserve as much fish as needed. This led

to many skirmishes and was involved in some treaties.

Another economic disagreement was in the fur trapping

region between the Kennebec river and the St. John River. This

region was one of constant struggle, as the English, French and

Indians all wanted control.

Economics also led to many treaties of trade between the

English and French. Many believed that the small settlements

of the Acadians could not survive without the trade with the

English. The French, realizing their problem had the situation

where they sometimes had to depend on their enemy, which probably

was the main factor in their eventually losing their land.


Treaties which affected Acadia-Nova Scotia.

Treaty of St. Germaine-en-Laye:


Came following some skirmishes between English forces

from Massachusetts and French forces from Acadia. Both

groups wanted to control land that officially belonged

to each. The treaty forced the English out, giving com-

plete control to the French.

Treaty between Massachusetts and d'Aulnay:

October, 1644

Followed an attack of d'Aulnay's outpost at Port Royal

by LaTour using English ships and men. It stated that

all Englishmen under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts

shall keep peace with d'Aulnay and all the French under

his command in Acadia. It also noted that d'Aulnay and

his people must reciprocate and keep peace with the people

of Massachusetts. Perhaps the most important feature in

the treaty was that it opened up trade between all Eng-

lishmen in Massachusetts and the French in Acadia.

It was revised in 1646 to state that trade, while

open to the Acadian French was not open to the Indians.

Statement by Cromwell on trade:

May, 1653

Due to England's war with the Dutch, a statement was


Treaties which affected Acadia-Nova Scotia.

issued to all English colonies. "For prevention of

any such trade as maybe of dangerous consequence to

ourselves, as the strengthening of persons in hostility

to our nation or ourselves, that from the publication

hereof, all persons in our jurisdiction are prohibited

from carrying provisions such as corn, beef, peas,

bread, or pork, etc., into any of the plantations of

Dutch or French inhabiting in any of the parts of Amer-

ica; and in case any shall do so, they shall pay triple

the value so traded, upon legal conviction.

Treaty of Breda:


Issued after the English had taken control over Acadia.

It returned Acadia to the French in exchange for three

West Indies islands. The treaty was economically advan-

tageous.for the English but bad for Massachusetts and

especially Thomas Temple, who was the English governor

of Nova Scotia. He wrote a nasty letter to Lord Arling-

ton, stating the dangers of a French controlled Acadia-

Nova Scotia, but his words went unnoticed. Temple did

not give up his settlements at Pentagoet, St. John and

Port Royal until 1670.


Treaties which affected Acadia-Nova Scotia.

Treaty of Neutrality:

November, 1686:

A treaty between France and England. It left the boun-

dary problem unsolved. The real importance of the treaty

was that it specifically prohibited the drying of fish

on Acadian soil by Massachusetts fishermen. The people

of Massachusetts were very upset because drying of fish

in Acadia was a standard procedure that was necessary in

the fishing industry.

Treaty of Ryswyk:

December, 1697:

Signed at the time of many border skirmishes between

French-Indian forces and Massachusetts forces. Although

it did not deal directly with these disputes by defining

a border, it did bring an end to their fighting. The

treaty allowed for trade to be reestablished between

the Acadians and the people of Massachusetts. The French

retained control of Acadia.

Treaty of Utrecht:

April, 1713:

A treaty between France, Spain, England, Savoy, Portugal,

and the Netherlands. It had a devastating affect on

French Acadia. It granted Acadia-Nova Scotia to the

English, leaving only Isle Royale (Cape Breton Island)


Treaties which affected Acadia-Nova Scotia.

and Isle St. Jean (Prince Edward Island) to the French.

Many Acadians, particularly the old who had lived there

most of their lives, were allowed to stay on their land

if they would vow allegiance to England. Those who left

went into Canada, Isle Royal, Isle St. Jean, Louisiana,

or returned to France.

Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle:

April, 1748:

Came about after the English had taken control of the

last Acadian stronghold at Louisbourg, on Isle Royale.

The treaty returned control of Isle Royale to the French

in return for Madras (a part of India). Many of the

people of Massachusetts were upset at England's treaty

because it meant that they would have to retake the island.

Treaty of Paris:


Officially ended France's possession of Cape Breton Island.

The Acadians had already been moved out in the late 1750's

but this treaty acknowledged the English control. In

the treaty the English acquired rights to Canada, Cape

Breton, Nova Scotia, parts of Louisiana, Tobago, Dominique,

St. Vincent, the Granadas, the settlement of Senegal, and

the island of Minorca. France got the rights to Martinique,

Guadaloupe, Goree, Belleisle, and other islands.



1. Encyclopedia Americana: vol. 1, p.60

2. A.H. Clark, Acadiar The Geography of Nova Scotia to 1760.
Madison Wis., 1968. p.78

3. Ibid. p.79

4. Ibid. p.79

5. Ibid. p.79

6. Ibid. p.79

7. Encyclopedia Americana: vol. 1, p.60

8. Clark; p.81

9. Ibid. p.81

10. Ibid. p.82

11. Ibid. p.84

12. G.A. Rawlyk, Nova Scotia's Massachusetts. 1630 to 1784.
Montreal Canada, 1973. p.4

13. Ibid. p.7

14. Ibid. p.37

15. Ibid. p.38

16. Ibid. p.120

17. Clark. p.335

18. Rawlyk. p.211

Reasons for Conflict:

1. Rawlyk. pp. 1,2

2. Ibid. p.3

3. Ibid. pp. 7,8

4. Encyclopedia Americana; vol. 1, p.60

5. Rawlyk. p.40

6. Rawlyk. pp.56,57

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