Expulsion of the Acadians

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Expulsion of the Acadians
A. G. Archibald
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EXPULSION OF THE ACADIANS. Letter from Sir Adams G. Archibald. MR. EDITOR, -- A copy of your paper of the 31st ult., has just reached me. I have read the report of the proceedings at the recent banquet at Moncton with much interest. Allow me to congratulate our Acadian friends on the success of their demonstration. Meetings like this, of persons connected by the tie of a common nationality, foster the best feelings. They always do good. Mr. Landry in his speech on that occasion said many things in which I heartily concur. He closed his address with a statement that “if there is a loyal subject in Canada to-day, it is the Acadian subject.” I had said pretty much the same thing in my papers, though not perhaps in so epigrammatic a form. But the loyalty of [illegible]. The question is not what they are – but what they were 130 years ago. If I differ from Mr. Landry on that point, it is not because I have failed to give the question a careful investigation. I was carried away, as every body else has been carried away, by the influence of Longfellow’s splendid poem. It was the reading of this epic which set me on the enquiry how it was that such a thing could be done in the 18th century. I felt, it required very strong grounds to form an excuse, much less a justification for so extraordinary a proceeding. In this investigation I carefully examined the Provincial Archives which Mr. Landry supposes were destroyed by the chief actors in the drama. These were not destroyed. They have remained on file among the other public documents of the Province from their date till this day, open and accessible to any one who would take the trouble to look for them. Large portions of these which touch this question were printed 20 years ago. Copies of the book are in all the principal libraries of the Continent. Mr. Landry could not have had his attention drawn to this work or he would not have supposed that the Acadians never refused to take the oath of allegiance. The documents show that they did so not once or twice, but over and over again, not at one time only but persistently for 40 years. Then as to the French Archives which he says it is so difficult to find, we have copies of many of them here. Originals he will find without number in Quebec and Paris. They confirm our own. If they differ from ours in anything, it is in making the case for the expulsion stronger than it would be without them. Mr. Landry assumes that I cannot find documents to support my views. My aim was to state the facts as they existed, to support my statement of facts by the evidence on which they rested, and then to draw the conclusion which seemed to flow from the facts as stated. In these conclusions I may be wrong. In the facts I think I am not. Others with the same data may come at a different conclusion. They have a perfect right to do so, if in their judgment the facts will warrant them. If I have come to the conclusion that under all the circumstances the deportation was a necessity – a cruel necessity – it is not that I had any adverse prepossessions on the point. Mr. Landry has the courage of his convictions –I must have also of mine. Nobody knows better than Mr. Landry that my action on this principle in the case of a people akin to the Acadians brought upon me at one time a good deal of obloquy from English speaking people of the Dominion. It would seem that like action on my part now, may cost me the opinion of many excellent people of French origin. But I never sought popularity when I was in politics and I am not likely to care much for it now, that I am out of them. To me the question is one solely of historical truth. I have the honor to be, Sir, Your obedient servant, A.G. ARCHIBALD. Halifax, Jan. 3, 1887.