A Disputed Chapter of History

Article Title
A Disputed Chapter of History
Page Number
Article Type
Article Contents
A DISPUTED CHAPTER OF HISTORY. The expulsion of the Acadians took place a century and a quarter ago, but it seems hardly possible yet for historians to discuss the question without prejudice and bitterness, or without having the charge of prejudice and bitterness made against them. No one writer has given anything like a complete account of the event, and of the circumstances that gave rise to it. No one person who has sought and obtained access to the whole or nearly the whole of the material for this interesting chapter has yet given the public the results of his studies. The scope of Mr. Parkman’s work compelled brevity, and Mr. Hanney, who wrote before him was still more brief. Recent brochures of Sir Adams Archibald and Abbe Casgrain belong rather to the domain of apologetics than history. The French writers down to recent years did not approach the discussion in the historical spirit, and even the most recent writings in French, those of Abbe Casgrain, are pitched in a tone calculated to excite the suspicion that the author’s feelings may have in some cases ran away with him. It is perhaps difficult for a descendant of the French colonists to realize the difficulties and perplexities in which the English settlers and their rulers were placed by their domestic surroundings and foreign entanglement. But he can see what the English critic fails to appreciate, the confusion of mind and the constant pull in two directions to which the Acadians were exposed. Threatened on both sides, not knowing which nation would be the final owner of the country, attached to their native language, their mother church, and their way of life, made suspicious of strangers by the traditions of the past, it was no moral offence on the part of the majority of the sufferers that led to the deportation. Professor Hind, who last evening at Halifax replied to the recent strictures of Abbe Casgrain, will no doubt find himself with a controversy on his hands, for the French historian is a sturdy disputant, and has devoted much of his time of late years to an examination of the records both in America and Europe. Professor Hind is an exceedingly pugilistic gentleman, who has had more literary fights than he can count on his fingers.