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Page 29 - Signing Your Life Away, Number Three: A Letter from Poupet de la Boularderie

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1991/1/1 (1328 reads)
 

Signing Your Life Away, Number Three A Letter from Poupet de la Boularderie This letter Is written in 1755. It Is a plea for help. A retired mili? tary officer, Antoine Le Poupet, sieur de la Boularderie, was liv? ing for the second time on his farm on Isle Verdronne (Boularde? rie Island), near present-day Point Aconi. In 1745, he had gone to lend a hand In defence of the French fortress at Louisbourg, then besieged by the British. He had left his farm and rowed Into Louisbourg Harbour through the British ships; and he was on land with the French troops to face the British when they came ashore at Gabarus Bay. As we know, the French lost the First Siege of Louisbourg and with it Cape Breton Island. He was cap? tured, taken to Boston, and then sent to France. His farm was burned, and he lost everything. But the British returned Cape Breton to France, and de la Bou? larderie returned to Cape Breton, served again at Louisbourg, and then retired to Isle Verdronne to rebuild his farm. He had been promised the Cross of Saint-Louis and protection. But these promises were forgotten. By 1755, he wrote the following letter, pleading for support. We do not know whether his letter was at all successful. We do know, however, that In 1758 Cape Breton Island again fell to England In the Second Siege of Louisbourg. With the fall of Quebec in 1759, France lost all of Canada to the British. All that is left of M. de la Boularderie's presence are some fruit trees and foundations said to have been part of his farm, and of course the name "Boularderie Island." We do not know the date he died. The Letter: After training as a page in the household of his Royal High? ness, I entered the Richelieu regiment with the rank of lieu? tenant on the first day of January, 1724.1 served seven years there and then took command of a company in the same regiment, a post I held for nine years. I took part in the cam? paigns of Kel, Philipsbourg and Clauzen. When peace was made, at the end of eighteen months, I sold my command because, of a reverse in fortune. The king had given my fa? ther the rank of commandant for as long as he lived in all the extent of his lands and holdings. The year after I left the service. His Majesty thought fit to invest me with the same prerogatives. I therefore sold a house in Paris, the last of my assets, and went out to Isle Royale (Cape Breton Island). I took with me farm-labourers from Normandy, some work? men, and all the utensils necessary for tilling the soil. Dur? ing the next eight years I had twenty-five persons in my em? ploy, and they built me a very fine house, a granary, a stable, a dairy, a pigeon-house, an oven, a wind-mill and a water-mill for grinding grain. I had twenty-five cows, six ox? en, six mares, fifty sheep and a stallion. This in common knowledge was the state of my affairs when, by the for? tunes of war, I lost everything. In addition, I had improved lands that produced good wheat and all the vegetables grown in Europe. Furthermore, I imported fruit trees from France which did very well. I had more than a thousand feet of them and a "herbier botaniste" that is very rare. For just about six months my works were at perfection, and I had hopes of leading a pleasant life in my charming retreat, when the king declared war on the English. M. Dusquesne, then our governor, decided it was necessary to capture the fort at Canso, and he asked me to accompany the expedition. The officers who were in charge had no ex? perience, never having served in wartime. I was pleased PLAN l)K l.KNI'RRK IVV DVNWPMCfll) DV. I.A PE.TITf' r>iiA.''l> • )H , P A !' T f R ??J ??' '-' ' 'Vr RD RO N-N Er- f, 'C'N" • ?*, ?.'''" A: Boularderie's establish? ment, near present-day Alder Point B: cowsheds and stables D: concession given to a ploughman by Boularderie in 1742 M: coal mines, near present- day Point Aconi N: fishing establishment 0: cabins of 6 Native families l/1ap made inl 742 7' l' Map of the Entrance and of Part of Little Bras d'Or, consisting of the Establishment of M. de la Boularderie and of Fishermen
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