In 1755, a wind of hatred blew through North America, and Acadia was in the eye
of the storm.
The English wanted to take the Acadians' lands. Tensions were
growing between French soldiers and English settlers and soldiers. That summer,
the New York Gazette's correspondent in Halifax wrote:
|Lt.-Col. John Winslow was ordered to expel the Acadians from Nova Scotia. (As portrayed by J. Anthony Robinow in Canada: A People's History)
"We are now upon a great and noble scheme of sending
the neutral French out of this province, who have always been secretly our
enemies... and have encouraged our Indians to cut our throat. If we effect their
expulsion, it will be one of the greatest things that ever did the English in
America, for by all accounts, that part of the country they possess is as good a
land as any in the world... we could get some good English farmers in their
The new governor of Nova Scotia, Charles Lawrence, demanded that the Acadians
swear a new oath of allegiance to the King of England, this time with no
But the Acadians refused to renounce the promise made 25 years
earlier by Richard Philipps:
|Although they had become residents of an English colony, Acadians were initially promised that they would never have to fight against France if they swore an oath of allegiance to England. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
"We, and our fathers, having taken for them and for us
an oath of loyalty which was approved several times, in the name of the king...
we will never be so inconstant as to take an oath that changes, however little,
the conditions and privileges which our sovereigns and our fathers secured for
us in the past."
On August 11, 1755, Lawrence wrote to Lieutenant-Colonel John Winslow,
commander of a Massachusetts militia unit at Grand-Pré:
"You must have recourse to the most certain means to gather the
inhabitants together and put them on board ship, using trickery or force as
I wish above all that you pay no attention to the
petitions and memorials which the inhabitants will address to you."
"I order... all inhabitants, including the elderly and
young under 10 years of age... to gather in the church at Grand-Pré on
Friday the 5th of this month at 3 o'clock in the afternoon..."
And he added:
"The duty which I am now to discharge, although
imperious, is very disagreeable to my nature and to my temperament as it will be
to you who are of the same species as me... your lands, houses, livestock and