Page 61 - Before the Loyalists: Acadians in the Sydney Area, 1749-1754
ISSUE : Issue 48
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1988/6/1
lishments were not likely to be a success. He described the settlers as "indolent" and "lazy," people who would not be able to survive without continued assistance. Pro? vost admitted that it would have been dif? ficult for the Acadians to have both cleared the land and grown sufficient crops within the space of a year, but still he was not optimistic. Another pessimist about the Acadian settle? ments was the French military officer at Louisbourg, troop major Michel Le Courtois de Surlaville. The sharp-tongued Surla- ville, who castigated most aspects of life in the colony, complained of the prevailing attitude among Acadians still on the main? land. He wrote disparagingly of "the natu? ral laziness of these peoples who, finding themselves on an establishment already made, are not in the mood to work at clear? ing another." Following the summer and then the harvest of 1750 it came time for a new round of as? sessments on the Acadian settlements on lie Royale. Little had changed in the opinion of the local royal officials. Financial commissary Provost reported that the grow? ing season at Baie des Espagnols had pro? duced "some very beautiful cabbages and some good turnips," and that next year the settlers would be planting peas. Nonethe? less, Provost's doubts about the future were not eased. The problem, as he saw it, which is through official French eyes, was the Acadians themselves. Prdvost wrote: "This naturally indolent nation is frigh? tened to undertake the land clearing that must be done.... This is a difficult people to direct." Governor Des Herbiers expressed much the same opinion six months later, in May 1751. He wrote the minister of the Ma? rine "that the Acadians are not accustomed to obeying their superiors. But if they are French, they must obey their superiors in what he commands them for the service of the king." In yet another letter, Jean- Pierre Roma, director of a fishing enter? prise on lie Saint-Jean, offered that from what he had seen of the Acadians they were a superstitious people who, like the Mic? macs, "dominate entirely" the missionaries, not the other way around as it was supposed to be. What the Acadians thought of such negative assessments is not recorded. Naturally they would not have been privy to official let? ters and despatches, but one tends to think READY TO SERVE ALL OF CAPE BRETON Glace Bay Book Corner 68 Main Street at Senator's Corner 849-0940 OPEN 10 A. M. till 5 P. M. (FRIDAYS till 9 P. M.) MAIL ORDERS ACCEPTED "From the Latest to the Classics • We'll Find Any Book You Want' 68 MAIN ST., GLACE BAY, N. S. BlA 4X9 that the attitudes reflected in the corre? spondence were probably made manifest to the new settlers in other ways. And cer? tainly the Acadians were not shy about ex? pressing some strong opinions of their own. In the spring of 1751 Governor Des Herbiers felt obligated to respond to their comments and complaints in a letter of his own to the minister. (The Acadians' letter of com? plaints has not survived.) What is particularly noteworthy in the as? persions cast on the Acadian settlers of 1749-51 is that all those complaining had been born and raised in France, and that they saw the Acadians as a people (un peu- ple) distinct from themselves. Indeed, they could not begin to understand, and much less sympathise with, the spirit of inde? pendence that characterized the Acadian at? titude. It was both a puzzle and an annoy? ance to them. And when the Acadians didn't behave or work in the manner that was ex? pected of them, they were invariably de? scribed as lazy and unwilling to bow to their superiors. The Acadian Settlements Despite official criticism and other re? settling difficulties, the number of Acadi? ans who chose to move to lie Saint-Jean and lie Royale continued to grow. In June 1751 the estimate was. that 1200 Acadians had re? located to the two islands. Come winter, the figure had leaped to 2200, and showed signs of climbing higher. In early December 1751 one of the officers in the garrison, a Go ACADIAN f- TRIPS DAILY BETWEEN O SYDNEY & HALIFAX TRIP 52 - Pick ups in: NORTH SYDNEY, LITTLE BRAS D'OR, BIG HARBOUR, BADDECK, LITTLE NARROWS, WHYCOCOMAGH, PORT HASTINGS, PORT HAWKESBURY & others DEPART ARRIVE SYDNEY HALIFAX 8:45 A.M. $:1QP,M. 10:30 AM, 4:00 P,M. TRIP 64L - No other Cape Breton pick ups TRIP 62L - Pick-ups in: NORTH SYDNEY 11:00 A.M. 5:40 P.M. LITTLE BRAS D'OR, BADDECK, WHYCOCOMAGH, & PORT HAWKESBURY TRIP 54 - via St. Peter's - Pick ups in: SYDNEY RIVER. 2:15 P.M. 9:50 P.M. BIG POND, ST. PETER'S, GRAND ANSE, CLEVELAND, PORT HAWKESBURY & others TRIP 76 - Pick ups in: NORTH SYDNEY, BADDECK, 6:00 P.M. 12:00 A.M. WHYCOCOMAGH, PORT HAWKESBURY (SUNDAY TO FRIDAY ONLY) PARCEL EXPRESS • Same day service to most Maritime points • Collect shipments now accepted • Excess insurance available to $500.00 • "Priority Pak" our new 12"x16" waterproof envelope with a flat rate throughoutJhe Maritimes for $4.00-sold 10 for $40.00 GRAYLESE SIGHTSEEING TOURS June 1-October 15 See Historic Halifax/Peggy's Cove We depart from most hotels for tliese tours. ACADIAN LINES LIMITED 6040 Almon Street, Halifax, N. S. B3K 5M1 • CALL TOLL FREE 1-454-9321 for further information
Cape Breton's Magazine