Judge Morse’s Lecture
The opening lecture of the Mt. Allison Course was well attended last Friday evening and the large audience in Lingley Hall listened with eager interest while Judge Morse in graceful and appropriate language depicted scenes and incidents connected with the early history of Cumberland and Westmorland Counties. Judge Morse proved conclusively his thorough familiarly with his subject, and he told in a graphic and entertaining manner of that small fleet that sailed from Havre on the 7th of April, 1604 under DeMonts, whose chief object was to locate a grant of land he had received from the French government, and of the arrival of that fleet with its incongruous crew in Annapolis Basin. Theirs were the first keels that ever cut Nova Scotian waters, and they brought out, besides chevaliers, tradesman and laborers, representative of the great forces who were dividing Europe and were destined to divide America—the Jesuits and the Calvinists. Some of them remained at Annapolis, which they named Port Royal, and the others crossed the Baie Francais, now Bay of Fundy, came to River Herbert, which they named for their Apothecary, crossed the Maccan and Nappan and arrived at Beaubassin (Fort Lawrence,) “the land of white birches.” At Beausejour, now Fort Cumberland, they first made the acquaintance of the Micmac Indians and cemented with them a friendship that was never broken while the French flag waved over the country. From thence they passed on, crossed the Tantramar and Memramcook and in October reached the St. John river, which they described as dressed in a gay garb of maples, watching the approach of winter. Space will not permit of following the details of the leture, which told of the first actual settlers in Cumberland and Westmorland, of the disparity of the sexes in the new colony, which led to sending out from France a consignment of young women who speedily found hubsands; of the labor performed by the early settlers, of the attacks by the British colonists of New England, of the spoliation of the country on two occasions by Col. Church, of the capture of Port Royal by Nicholson and of the surrender of Nova Scotia, which then included New Brunswick, to Britain in 1713. Nor will space permit of more than the briefest mention of how the French, before the ink on the treaty was dry, took possession of Cape Breton and began to fortify Louisburg. This was the most important strategic point in the country, and by holding it the French were able to command the Gulf of St Lawrence, dominate the Newfoundland fisheries and have the New England and West Indian trade at their mercy. The fortress at Louisburg was thirty years in building at a cost of twenty millions of money, and during the time of its construction French villages sprung up and prospered at River Hebert, Minudie, Maccan, Nappan, Beaubassin, Beausejour, Memramcook and Petitcodiac and found at Louisbourg an excellent market for all they could produce. The French were here by hundred and thousands, and the Louisburg fortress was an ever-growing menace to Nova Scotia and New England. When the fort was completed in 1744 war was declared by France and New England merchantmen were captured by the dozen. Governor Shirley, of Massachusetts, declared Louisburg must be attacked, and although his proposition was at first derided, an expedition was ultimately sent out under Pepperell, a colonel of militia. Humanly speaking, said the lecturer, the expedition should have been and was a failure before it started, but acting in conjunction with Commodore Warren and a small British fleet, the attack through Divine Providence was successful and Louisburg was captured. Then followed the fitting out of a French fleet under Admiral D’Anville with 7,000 trained men and 10,000 stand of arms for the recapture of the fortress, the destruction of the fleet by a storm and the arrival at Beaubassin of an expedition from Quebec to assist D’Anville. Then the lecturer graphically told how an expedition left Beaubassin on snow shoes in the dead of winter and surprised and massacred Col. Noble and his troops at Grand Pre, and of the events which followed the determination of Lord Cornwallis in 1748 to take possession of the country, and which culminated on the 16th of June 1755 in the surrender of Fort Beausejour, through the cowardice of its commandant, and the downfall of the white lilies of France through the whole land. In concluding his admirable address Judge Morse paid a graceful tribute to the institutions and faculty of Mount Allison.