Page 41 - Bishop Plessis Visits Cape Breton, 1815
ISSUE : Issue 55
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1990/8/1
Bishop Plessis Visits Cape Breton, 1815 from his Journal, translated by Robert Pichette, F.R.S.A. INTRODUCTION: In 1815 Bishop Joseph-Octave Plessis returned to Cape Breton to complete a visit he had started In 1812 • a visit that had been interrupted by the Napoleonic War. He traveled from Arichat to Louisbourg, stopped in Sydney, then went on through the Laltes via Christmas Island to St. Peters • leaving us a rare portrait of the ruined Louisbourg, the fledgling seat of Cape Breton provincial government, and the poverty of the Gaelic-speaking Scots in the early years of settlement • people with whom he could not communicate. Readers should note an oddity of Plessis* writing style: when the text refers to "the bishop" this is actually Bish? op Plessis talking about himself in the third person. He never uses the first person. As far as we have been able to discover, this portion of his journal has never appeared in English. Throughout, where known, we have added present place names. We set sail with the aid of a wind that promised marvels. We (sailed) successively before pointe a la Marache, cap au guet, the barachois des Basques, Cap Rouge, Isle Verte, the petites Arises, gros-nez and grande anse, all situated to south-east of Arichat, to which they be? long and whose navigators, being locals, are the only ones who can remember this fairly ridiculous toponymy. Soon the eastern coast of Cape Breton loomed, with its own islands, its headlands, harbours, coves, inhabitants and uninhabited areas, which predominate. Towards the evening, as we approached Louisbourg, which is 14 leagues from Arichat in an eastern direction, the wind stopped help? ing us. Captain Foret, who feared that the wind would worsen during the night, preventing us from l
Cape Breton's Magazine