Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 38 > Page 29 - DesBarres's Plans for Sydney

Page 29 - DesBarres's Plans for Sydney

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1985/1/1 (352 reads)

these Loyalists who, because they've been loyal, have lost property in the States and are asking compensation from the Brit? ish government. And Britain has to recom? pense them for their loyalty. And Britain had fought the Seven Years War with France, and then she had fought the Ameri? can war, and she's fighting in India. There'd been a great drain on the treasury. So DesBarres uses this and says, "Look, the colony can run on its own. And you owe me money. So why not appoint me governor, and we'll call it even." So the deal is struck on that ground. The Colonial Office decides on that way to get out of the money they owe him. Plus, they pay off a whole crowd of other Loyalists. (Paid them off in what form?) Land grants here in Cape Breton. 200 acres free. Plus (in the case of Cuyler) by giving him of? fice, making him secretary of the colony. There's a regular pay, a good pay. New Brunswick was in the same situation, and was set off at the same time. But New Brunswick was different, because something like 20,000 or 30,000 people had poured in there between 1780 and 1783. They were there already, when they were proclaimed a colony in 1784. Cape Breton in 1784--there was nobody to speak of here. I mean, there were a few people living in Louisbourg, fishermen, and some Acadians down around Arichat. Micmacs, of course. You might as well say Cape Breton was empty. Just a small population of probably no more than 2000 people. And the colony wasn't de? clared for these people, anyway. It was de? clared to pay off debts to the Loyalists. DesBarres is in England. He doesn't get to Cape Breton until January of 1785. His first task is to get a ship and to get a number of settlers. He wants to get crafts? men, carpenters and masons--this sort of thing. He gets about 120 settlers, through the fall. (These are not Loyalists.) No, these are the Muggahs and the Rudderhams and these people, who make up an important part of the population of Sydney now. They're simply Englishmen, from the West Country mainly. Because DesBarres doesn't know what he's got among this Loyalist mob that's coming up. When Cuyler found out that Cape Breton was going to be a separate colony, he immedi? ately sent back word on the next ship a- cross to tell his people--they were in Que? bec City, these Loyalists--to set sail for Cape Breton. And they did. But instead of 3000, there was only something like a coup? le of hundred. They'd gotten frightened. Before word got through that yes, you can go to Cape Breton--a lot of them went to Upper Canada. Cuyler's people came in 3 ships, the Liber? ty, the Sally, and the Saint Peter. Two of the ships landed at St. Peters, and one went on to Louisbourg. And no thought of going to Sydney Harbour. Does that mean that DesBarres didn't talk to Cuyler? Or does it mean that DesBarres wasn't sure Sydney was going to be the capital? Or he hadn't told Cuyler his plans to make Syd? ney the capital, not wanting Cuyler to get there before he arrived? We don't know. It's not documented. So Cuyler's people came. And Cuyler came a- cross the ocean and joined them at Louis? bourg. By August 1784 they're there. The people in St. Peters winter. And the fol? lowing spring they go to Baddeck. My guess is the majority went to Baddeck, and left their wives and children back at Louis? bourg or St. Peters, until they could get themselves established. Jonathan Jones had already reconnoitered the Baddeck area. While Cuyler had gone to England, Jonathan Jones had sailed up, at Cuyler's request, to find a good place to settle. And Jones hit upon what we call Big Baddeck, back up the Baddeck River--that's where the orig? inal Baddeck was. Little Baddeck (the vil? lage today) is later. And when they got their farms settled up, then the wives and children joined them. Meanwhile, DesBarres is organizing his ship, the Blenheim. And it comes across with supplies and tools and people--120. Without DesBarres, though. We have no rec? ord of Cuyler having supplies. So the Blen- WELCOME TO THE NEW Nor ma's Diner Friendly service and a comfortable atmosphere complement our full course menu, which offers char-broiled steaks and seafood OPEN FOR BREAKFAST AT 7 A.M. - 7 DAYS A WEEK Whycocomagh on the Trans-Canada Highway, Route 105 Overlooking the Beautiful Bras d'Or Lakes - Frank C. Mackley Equipment Ltd. 562-7330 Lawnmowers SALES - PARTS- SERVICE Rotor Tillers * Tractors TORO - ROPER - LAWN-BOY 477 Grand Lake Road, Sydney stores To Serve You CAPE BRETON SHOPPING PLAZA SYDNEY RIVER • ' FeaturingAW?? '' OCPANTMENT tTONEt OCPANTMENT STOIIE* The Crossroads of Cape Breton' Sobeys & Shopper's Drug Mart '''''y' *??" = • n Daily 1110 p.m.
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