Quebec Studies

Historiography of the Acadians' Grand Dérangement, 1755

Quebec Studies (1988), 7, (1), 74–86.

Abstract

Québec Studies, No. 7 , 1 9 8 8 HISTORIOGRAPHY OF THE ACADIANS' GRAND DÉRANGEMENT, 1755 by Thomas Garden Barnes^ On September 5,1755, Lieutenant-Colonel John Winslow of Hingham, Massachusetts, commanding His Britannic Majesty's troops in the District of Minas, western Nova Scotia, addressed 418 of the "Best Men" among the King's "neutral French" in the church of Grand Pré: Thus it is Preremtorily his Majesty's orders That the whole French Inhabi­ tants of these Districts, be removed, and I am Throh his Majesty's Goodness Directed to allow you Liberty to Carry of your money and Household Goods as Many as you Can without Discomemoading the Vessels you Go in. I shall do Everything in m y power that all Those Goods be Secured to you and that you are Not Molested in Carrying of them of and also that whole Familys Shall go in theSame Vessel, and make this remove which I am Sensable must give you a great Deal of Trouble as Easey as his Majesty's Service will admit and hope that in what Ever part of the world you may Fall you may be Faithfull Subjects, a Peasable & happy People. ("Journal of Colonel John Winslow" 95). He then declared them the King's prisoners. It was over a month later before shipping was available to begin transporting 2000 Acadians from Minas. On October 8, Winslow noted in his journal: began to Embarke the Inhabitants who went Very Solentarily and unwill­ ingly, the women in Great Distress Carrying off Their Children In their arms. Others Carryin their Decript Parents in their Carts and all their Goods Moving in great Confussion & appeard a Sceen of woe & Distres. ("Journal of Colonel John Winslow" 166). Thus was Le Grand Dérangement, the expulsion of the Acadians, effected at Minas. By the end of 1755, about 6000 had been deported from Nova Scotia proper. In the remaining seven years of war a further 2000 would be taken, fugitives from the original seizure and Acadians who were captured as British forces occupied today's New Brunswick, about 8000 total out of a population of 10,000-12,000 (Griffiths, Ch. 4). Sent mostly to British Atlantic seaboard colonies, some of the Acadians subse­ quently migrated to Louisiana, the French West Indies, St. Pierre et Miquelon, and France itself (Griffiths ch. 4, Clark 360-67, Thériault and Muriel Roy in Daigle 47-50,151-65). Others would return to British North America, including old Acadia. (c) Thomas Garden Barnes, 1988

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Barnes, Thomas