Mr. Morris' Remarks Concerning the Removal of the French Inhabitants - Summer, 1755 (continued)

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Mr. Morris' Remarks Concerning the Removal of the French Inhabitants - Summer, 1755 (continued)
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MR. MORRIS’ REMARKS Concerning the Removal of the French Inhabitants – Summer, 1755. (Continued) At Gaspé, which makes the South entrance into the river St. Lawrence, the French have a fort and town, and carry on a considerable fishery, here they have ships and other vessels which could with ease carry them from Chédiac to Gaspé and from thence to Canada by every vessel bound thither, for the vessels bound to Canada frequently touch at that port, if they should attempt to pass that way His Majesty’s Ship cruising in the bay Vert by stretching above the port of Chédiac [Shediac] would stand a fair chance to intercept them. – As these inhabitants are so far out of the way of the English troops it will be difficult to apprehend them, but by some stratagem. But they are all adventures to be rooted out, and the most effectual way is to destroy all these settlements by burning down all the houses, cuttling the dikes, and destroying all the grain now growing, for it will be impossible to save any of their grain, except that growing near the fort, without great loss of men unless there be a firm peace with the Indians which is not likely while the French continue there, and the Indians will be always induced to listen to them, because their dependence for provision will be on them. A manifest advantage will arise therefrom for all the Indians on the North Shore will then be obliged to depend on the English for subsistence, and we shall find them after this not only in a disposition to make peace but to continue it, especially if a Truck house were established at Cheignecto to supply them with all necessarys, and another at St. John for that tribe. And I can’t help remarking that the most lucky conjecture has happened to put in execution such a project: the fort the French have forsaken is not so damaged but it may be repaired in a few days, and when made defensible, 40 men would be sufficient to guard it, for it would not be in the power of the French ever to bring cannon or other stores of war to retake it, for tho’ the St. John river is navigable for canoes almost to its head, yet it is full of falls, and they can only use birch canoes, which can be carried on men’s shoulders till they pass a fall: that the carrying place between the two rivers is ten miles over every steep mountains, and impassable but on foot, and therefore they never can bring warlike stores that way to annoy that garrison, and a few men would be able to defend it against any musketry, and could soon be relieved, if attacked, from the other Post in the bay: this would be a great curb on that tribe (The Marecites) and the advantages of plenty of provisions and other supplys will soon gain them to our interests, and this, in time, would become a trade of considerable profit to this colony. If this were done before the inhabitants were removed it would cut off all hopes of escaping there, especially to those of Annapolis, and from the circumstances that fort is in at present, as I am informed, one sloop load of pickets, with some plank for gate, would effectually repair it, and for the present till barracks or two or three of the houses of the inhabitants could be sent, the soldiers might lodge in tents with one large one or a few boards to cover their stores. The number of men necessary to remove the inhabitants, and the places to post them, will depend much on the behavior of the French, and it will much facilitate their readiness to go of a persuasion could obtain among them that they are to Canada – could it be propagated by common report, for ‘tis natural to think they will be unwilling to quit their possessions, and to offer themselves willingly to be transported they know not wither. I apprehend such a persuasion would greatly facilitate their enterprise. If they can possibly be persuaded to surrender themselves willingly or be apprehended by any stratagem, the others might submit willingly, but if they prove obstinate and take to the woods and take up arms, it will require the whole force of the colony to subdue them and take up a considerable time to reduce them: It is difficult to conjecture how this may be effected. If strong detachments were placed in the villages of Minas, Pizaquid and Canard, at a certain day they might be all summoned to attend, and then seize on all those that attend; or whether to invest their churches on a Sunday to be agreed on and to seize on all present; or whether to invest their villages in the night and seize them in bed; their living in such a scattering situation will render this difficult; a number of whale boats would be absolutely necessary if this were concluded on to seize all those contiguous to the Basin, which would be best stationed at Minas, as being near the centre of the settlements from whence they may be sent out. In short it is difficult to conjecture how it may be accomplished, but the circumstances as they arise will afford the best information of the most effectual methods of dealing with them. Happy would it be if they in general come in of their own accord? It is not possible to employ some person who can be confided in, and who has been among them, to sound their present disposition and intention, and from thence to take measures accordingly? MODE OF DISARMING THE ACADIANS During the siege of Beausejour under the command of General Moncton, while many of the neutrals of the distant districts of Minas, Canard, Des Habitants, Cobequid, etc., had taken up arms for annoying his Majesty’s troops on that expedition – it was thought advisable to draw the teeth of all the neutrals in the province by a seizure of their arms and ammunition, which in these parts was effected with great secrecy and expedition – by a detachment of 100 men from His Majesty’s out-garrison of Fort Edward-Pissiquid. Joined by another from Halifax consisting of 50 men – marched from Fort Edward under the command of Capt. Alex Murray, the commanding officer of Fort Edward – reporting among the soldiers and men that they were going to Annapolis Royal and as going thither marched about twenty five miles to a bridge over which they were to cross and take another course into Cornwallis – calculating their time so as to get there about sunset – leaving at this bridge a guard of men to prevent any of the neutrals from passing or repassing, and making all prisoners who came within gun shot – dividing into several parties the remainder of the detachment so as to proceed into Cornwallis by the several roads that led to each village, even to the remotest part of those several rivers where there was any settlements and as had been customary before, lodged the the men in the French houses, but with this difference – instead of the whole party lodging in a barn they separated and two or three men men only in a house as though they meant to lodge there that night, and by this method every house in all those settlements not only had two or three soldiers in it, but also every place where they forded the River Centinels were placed to stop and seize all who might attempt to pass. The instructions given to the several commissioned and non-commissioned officers was that at the hour of twelve in the dead of night they were to follow and do what the leader did, which was to take possession of all the arms they saw or could find in such houses; this instruction being strictly complied with, they were to march back the same road they went until they all met at the above-mentioned bridge; in like manner was done at every house in all the other districts, and the next morning the whole detachment met together at the landing place where Fort Vieux Logis was erected. Each soldier loaded with fire arms, powder horns, etc., and these arms put on board of a small vessel detained there for the purpose of carrying the fire arms from thence to the garrison of Forth Edward Pissiquid; that in the course of two days four hundred muskets was thus taken from those neutrals and secured in Fort Edward, which being done the governor and council ordered it to be published among the inhabitants and an advertisement wrote in French that any family or person or persons that had any fire arms remaining among them who neglected to bring them into his majesty’s garrison of Forth Edward within a limited time should be treated as rebels to His Majesty. This being done, the neutrals, thinking themselves much injured, wrote a very impudent letter or writing to the governor and council, purporting that while government continued to allow them the privileges that the British government neither had a right or in their power to deprive them of, they would behave as faithful neutrals to His Britanic Majesty. This letter was signed by all the deputies of this part of the province and by most of the inhabitants, and in particular by all the leading men, and a spirit of resentment appeared in the countenance of every neutral French inhabitant with threates that spoke the temper of their rebellious minds, the gouvernor and council (with the advice of Admiral Boscawen, who then had his squadron at Halifax and was in council) issued orders that the deputies and other signers should be sent to Halifax, there to take the oath of alegiance to His Britanic Majesty. Some of them did go down in July, 1755, but refused to take the oath of alegiance. Every man of them refused with a most contemptuous look of resentment, wherefore they were all sent prisoners, the calculation was two to a ton averaged for old and young, including infants as one. (To be continued)