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LOUISBOURG, as the seat of French power on the coast of the North Atlantic, 
occupied, during the few years of its existence, a unique position. 

Contrasts between the progress of Canada and that of adjacent British 
colonies frequently have been made. It has been overlooked that the people of 
Louisbourg successfully met the competition of their neighbours in the greatest 
industry in which both were engaged. Its development illustrates the action of 
economic forces many years before the statement of their laws by Adam Smith 
met with general acceptance. The captures of the town, both in 1745 and 1758, 
connect its history with the general course of events, which, slowly preparing in 
the preceding years, culminated in the latter half of the eighteenth century 
with such faY-reaching consequences to France and the British Empire. 

This work is intended to present in detail the economic and administrative 
history of the colony, as well as to bring that history into harmony with the 
wider outlook on the events of the time which has been taken by other writers, 
notably M. Richard Waddington, 1 Mr. Julian Corbett, 2 and M. La Cour-Gayet. 3 

A study of original documents and contemporary writings having verified 
the soundness of their views, I have, in many cases, referred to their works rather 
than to sources less easily accessible. While I have tried to make complete my 
acknowledgments as well as the verification of their citations, I am aware that 
the former may not be complete, and that my text may even contain, without 
acknowledgment, phrases from works I have so constantly consulted. 

There are gaps in the narrative here presented. They are, by intention, 
only the leaving out of events or incidents, often picturesque, which are dealt 

1 Le Ren-versement des alliances, and La Guerre de Sept Ans. 2 England in the Seven Tears' War. 

3 La Marine militaire de la France sous Louis XV. 



with fully in the works of Parkman, Wood, and others, which it is fair to assume 
arc familiar to all who will read this hook. 

Some of the views presented differ from those usually taken of this period 
and the events herein dealt with. The relative success of the French fisheries, as 
compared with those of New England ; the lack of efficiency and armament in 
British outposts, and the slackness of some of their officers ; the origins of the 
expedition of 1745, and the importance of Pepperrell in securing its adoption by 
the legislature of Massachusetts, are instances in which the views presented differ 
from those I held in beginning the study of the original documents. 

Again, it may be pointed out to those who may feel that it was unnecessary 
to include in the narrative the statement that Wolfe's forecasts at Halifax were 
inaccurate, that his despondent views only set forth more brightly the indomitable 
spirit of the man. It has also seemed desirable to deal at some length, as the 
writer is familiar with local topography, with the site and sequence of events on 
the 8th of June, when the force under Wolfe's command gained a landing. 
There was nothing in the conduct of the war up to that time to lead us to 
believe that, had the attack been repulsed, the expedition might not have failed. 

The concluding chapter contains an analysis of the causes which led to the 
weakness of the French Navy at a time when efficiency might have averted the 
gravest disasters to the colonial empire of France. In this chapter, to avoid 
repetition, is contained some elucidations of the naval operations at Louisbourg 
which demand attention as a basis for a sound understanding of these events. 

It may be added that as the documents in the Archives Nationales which 
deal with the affairs of the colony are arranged in chronological order in their 
respective series, it has not been thought necessary to cite all references to 
documents so easily found ; nor for English readers to give the original text 
as well as a translation for passages quoted from French writers. I have used 
contemporary forms of spelling, usually that of the document on which the text 
is based ; and I have, whenever possible, quoted the words of an eyewitness 
rather than given my own version. While this course has some obvious dis- 
advantages it is hoped that it has added materially to the accuracy of the views 

I most gratefully acknowledge much help cordially given by many people. 


Earl Grey made it easy for me to obtain access to collections. Dr. A. G. 
Doughty of the Dominion Archives, and Monsieur Charles de la Ronciere of 
the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, both historians, the latter the author of a 
monumental history of the French Navy, not yet completed, have aided me with 
advice. Mr. H. P. Biggar of the Canadian Archives has placed freely at my 
disposal his knowledge of the libraries and archives of Europe. Viscount 
Falmouth has sent me copies of Admiral Boscawen's unpublished letters of 1755. 
Admiral the Hon. Horace Hood, R.N., has had prepared for me a chart showing 
the position of Boscawen's larger ships in June 1758. Colonel Stopford Sackville 
has had copied for me Cunningham's letter now in the Archives of Drayton 
House. Mr. H. P. Duchemin of Sydney has aided me in the final revision. 
Miss Alice J. Mayes of London has been an accurate and intelligent searcher for 
me in the Record Office and other depositaries in London. Mr. Herbert 
Putnam of the Congressional Library has given me the copy of a rare map ; 
md from the officials of many libraries and archives in Canada, the United 
States, England, and France I have received much courteous assistance in my 




P.S. This book was printed in the spring of 1914, for publication in the 
following September. The outbreak of war led to its being held over. The con- 
tinuance of the war makes it improbable that, within the near future, there will be 
more fitting time than the present for its appearance ; for the events dealt with 
in it influence those which are now occurring, and the views as to the importance 
of naval power stated in it are being confirmed on every sea. 

In the interval since it was printed changes have occurred. The Earl Grey 
and Admiral the Honble. Horace Hood have ended splendid careers of public 
irvice, and Sir Julian Corbett has had his contributions to naval history recognised. 

J. S. M C L. 

June 1918. 



14. V Attack and Defence in Three Stages. 


1. Veue de la Ville, 1731. Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, G 18830 . . Frontispiece 

2. Carte de 1'Isle Royale . . . w - . . .9 

3. Plan du Havre. By L'Hermitte, 1716 (Marine, Paris) . . . -33 

4. Projects of Fortification, Verville, 1717 . . . . . 51 

5. Captain Young's Map, 1716. . . . . . . .52 

6. Louisbourg, 1734 . . . . . . . . .86 

7. Environs, 1738 (Marine, Paris) ....... 89 

8. Satirical Print, 1755 . '. .' . . . . . - 197 

9. Boscawen's Ships, June 5, 1758 . . . . . . . 242 

10. Coast near Landing Place ... . . . . . 246 

11. Coromandiere Cove, 1912 . . . . . . 247 

12. First Landing . . . . . . . . .252 


1 6. The Prudent and Bienfaisant in Louisbourg Harbour, 1758 . . . .283 

17. Demolition of Fortifications (British Museum) . . . . .291 

1 8. View of Louisbourg in 1766 (British Museum) ..... 293 

19. Louisbourg Medals ...._..... 437 



1 A and I B. Plan of Siege of 1745. 

2 A and B, 3 A and B. Plans of Siege of 1758. 

From Section Hydrographique, Marine, Paris. 


Statement of the movements of His Majesty's ships employed in the siege of Louisburg, 
1745, with remarks upon weather, etc. 



THE foundation of Louisbourg was the result of a crisis in French colonial 
development. Before the readjustment of territory arranged by the Treaty 
of Utrecht, April I7I3, 1 France possessed the fairest colonial empire the 
world had seen. India knew her fleets and her factories. She held, on the 
seaboard of America, from the Arctic to what is now the State of Maine. 
Her influence was paramount from the St. Lawrence to the mouth of the 
Mississippi, in the vast backlands of the continent, to the westward of the 
Alleghanies. The West Indian islands belonging to her were the most 
prosperous of European settlements in those seas. At Placentia in Newfound- 
land she had an establishment, founded about 1660, which served as a base 
for her fisheries, and although weak as a place of arms, it was yet strong 
enough to resist English attacks and to send out expeditions which captured 
St. John's, the principal seat of the rival power. 

Wars between England and France had gone on with brief intermissions 
from 1689 to 1713. The War of the Spanish Succession, in which Europe 
formed a coalition to resist the pretensions of the Great Louis, had left France 
exhausted. Many treaties, signed at Utrecht, settled the terms of the peace, 
but certain clauses in the one between France and England alone concern 
this narrative. It was agreed that the French should evacuate Placentia, 
retaining certain fishing rights on the coasts of Newfoundland ; that Acadia, 
unhappily with indeterminate limits, should be yielded to England, but that 
France should hold with full sovereignty the islands lying in the Gulf of 
the St. Lawrence and its outlets. The most important of these was Cape 

The first position taken by the English negotiators was that France should not 
be allowed to fortify the island. This was, however, yielded. Although England, by 
previous ownership, or this Treaty, thereafter held the littoral of North America from 
Hudson's Bay to the Spanish territory of Florida, the belief survived in New England 

1 Cf. Let Grands Trait/s de Louis XIV, Vast, Paris, Picard, 1893. 


for a generation that these terms were the result of the purchase of the English 
plenipotentiaries by French gold. 1 

Acadia was the earliest of European settlements on the northern coast 
of America. Its history had been an extraordinary one, made up of neglect 
at home, internal strife by rival proprietaries in its forests, and frequent 
harryings of its struggling settlements by English colonists. These began 
with the foray of the Virginian Argal in 1613, and only ceased in 1710, when 
it was captured by New England forces, supported by an English fleet. So 
pitiful is its story that it is a cause for wonder that its chief place, Port Royal, 
survived, and that there, and at other settlements, lived about 2400 Acadians 
on lands so fertile that they excited the cupidity of the invaders. 

The pastoral prosperity of these people made them self-supporting. They 
contributed little to the trade of France ; therefore the relinquishment of 
Acadia, which so inadequately fulfilled the purpose for which colonies were 
established, the enrichment of the mother-country, would not justify describing 
the consequence in America of the Treaty of Utrecht as making a crisis in 
French colonial affairs. That expression is made accurate by two conditions 
which were of vital importance : for one affected her retention of Canada, 
the most extensive of her dependencies ; the other, the prosecution of a trade, 
not only important from its own profits, but indirectly from the commerce 
of which it was the source, and the military ~ advantages of its permanent 

Newfoundland and Nova Scotia being in the hands of England, Cape 
Breton was a sentinel in the gateway of the St. Lawrence, 3 through which 
passed the traffic of Canada through which, in event of new hostilities, attack 
on that colony would be made. The value of Cape Breton, as a naval base 
to protect Canada and French commerce in the Western Ocean, is so obvious 
that it need not be more than mentioned. 

The trade of such importance was that of the North Atlantic fisheries. 
It had been vigorously followed, at all events, from the beginning of the 
sixteenth century ; Portuguese, Basques from the Spanish side of the Bidassoa, 
those of their French ports, Bayonne and St. Jean de Luz, the fishermen 
of Bordeaux, of Normandy, as well as West Country English, visited the 
teeming waters of the western coasts of the North Atlantic. New England, 
too, about the mid-seventeenth century, turned, with far-reaching effects on 
her people, from the demoralizing fur trade. 

1 Douglass Summary, Lornlon, 1760, vol. i. p. 3. 

8 The Distinction between nival ami military forces was of later date than this time. Macaulay, with his usual 
brilliancy and wealth of illustration, states the relation of the sea and land forces which continued in France until 
later than the fall of Louisbourg (Macaulay's Hist. En%. vol. i. chap. iii.). 

1 The Strait of Belle Isle was not used at this time. 


" The two pursuits had very little in common. One partook of the departing barbarism, 
the other was a sure harbinger of the incoming civilisation. The one, lusty in its 
occasional prosperity, lean in its certain periods of scarcity, bred the lazy lounger of the 
trading-post, half-savage, half-pinchbeck citizen. The other, an uncertain chance combined 
with industry, made the hardy fisherman and bold sailor of the New England coast." 1 

The thrift of her people saved from the harvest of the sea the beginnings 
of that wealth which the enterprise of their descendants has made so potent 
in developing the resources of this continent. In early times, after providing 
for sustenance, they exploited the land as subsidiary to the fisheries, and the 
traffic over seas of which they were the origin. First fishing, then coasting, 
then deep-sea voyages, the building of vessels for these trades, the providing 
cargo for them from their other industries, mark the course of New England's 
early economic development. It is fitting that a golden codfish hangs in the 
legislative chamber of Massachusetts, to remind the representatives of her 
people of the origin of their prosperity. 

The importance of the fisheries was of more than colonial significance. 
The direct returns of the enterprise were large, and at the beginning of the 
eighteenth century were mostly the fruits of voyages made from Europe. 
"While many finny fellows have finer tissues and more exquisite flavours, 
few survive time, endure salt, and serve daily use as well as the Cod." These 
qualities opened for it large markets among the Catholic countries of Europe, 
as well as the Mahometan people of the Levant. Trade in other commodities 
followed that in fish, with proportional benefits to the nation, so that all 
interested in its prosperity set a high value on an industry the indirect 
advantages of which were so widespread and conspicuous. 2 

The industry was fostered, also, by statesmen as a " nursery of seamen." 
France, but a few years before, owned a navy which, under Tourville, had 
withstood the combined fleets of England and Holland. 3 Her naval decline 
was still incipient, so the reserve of seamen employed in her fisheries was a 
prime factor in its encouragement. 4 "As these cost the King nothing in 
time of peace, and are immediately available for his ships in time of war, and 
are no less skilled in handling a vessel on dangerous coasts than intrepid in 
combat," the commercial value of this industry was enhanced by its military 

1 Weeden's Economic and Social History of New England, vol. i. p. 129. 

8 As the fisheries of the French increased, English writers expressed alarm over this aspect of the situation. Weeden 
has a score of allusions to the importance of this trade. 

3 " Of Maritime powers France was not the first. But though she had rivals on the sea, she had not yet a superior. 
Such was her strength during the last forty years of the seventeenth century, that no enemy could singly withstand her, 
and that two great coalitions, in which half Christendom was united against her, failed of success " (Macaulay, vol. i. 
chap. ii.). * Shirley about 1745 estimated the number as 27,000. 


The experience of a century had shown that an establishment near the 
fishing grounds was essential. Boat as well as bank fishing was important. 
Vessels required a port in which they could refit in security. The taste of 
certain markets demanded a fish which had to be dried on shore. The necessity 
of selecting a site for this establishment, and removing to it the people of 
Placentia, required by the Treaty to be evacuated, so that no delay should 
imperil one of the most productive industries of the kingdom, was the crisis 
with which Pontchartrain, Minister of Marine, was confronted. 

Before going on to recount in outline the progress of the colony which was 
carried on under his administration and that of his successors, for colonial affairs 
were in charge of this Ministry, it is fair to caution the reader that a narrative 
dealing only with the affairs of one colony is quite untrustworthy as a ground 
for condemning men or systems. The basis for such a comparison is only sound 
when it embraces knowledge of what was happening in other establishments 
where conditions were not essentially different. 

The perusal of the scores of volumes of documents dealing with the affairs 
of Louisbourg leaves an impression that the administrators of that colony must 
have been corrupt and inefficient beyond all men then in similar positions ; that 
the Minister was indifferent to its fortunes; that its soldiers were ill-fed and 
clothed, its fortifications ineffective, its people drunken, its growth trifling, the 
establishment more likely to perish from its own corruption than to require 
formidable armaments for its capture. 

Corruption was also charged against officials in the English colonies. 
Ill-clothed soldiers in Nova Scotian winters kept watch wrapped in their 
blankets. On the eve of a war foreseen for years, one writes of an English 
outpost, " Canso lyes naked and defenceless " ; another, of Annapolis, the chief 
seat of English power in the province, as so weak, that even the cow of the 
neutral Acadian found its moat and ramparts practicable for assault. The 
consumption of spirits during the colonial occupation of Louisbourg shows that 
drunkenness was a vice the ravages of which were not confined to the French ; 
while the failure of the English colony of Georgia, founded not long after 
Louisbourg, proves that disappointing results followed enterprises under other 
flags than the white standard of the Bourbons. This introduction is not the 
place tor these illuminating comparisons. It must, however, touch on some 
general considerations which will make more intelligible the narrative of the 
events which took place in Louisbourg. 

France applied to her colonies the same paternal system of administration 
as at home. Colbert thus stated in one of his letters the principles on which 
sound colonial administration was founded : 


" Apply your industry and knowledge of affairs to these three points, the complete 
expulsion of foreigners, liberty to all French, and cultivate with care, justice, and good 
order." * 

Such was the standard Colbert set. Unmodified as an ideal, it guided the 
policy of successive ministers. 2 

But, while they wished the colonies to develop along these lines, other 
considerations modified this desire. No foreigner should live in them, nor were 
French heretics welcome. One of the advantages of the colony was that to it 
might be sent those whose presence in France was a disgrace to their families or 
a danger to the community. 3 It was in the sands of Louisiana that the frail 
grace of Manon ceased from troubling her generation. In its commercial 
development passion for working to a plan, often conceived with foresight and 
elaborated with intelligence, imposed on its people regulations which checked 
their enterprise. Its authorities were ordered to undertake elaborate schemes 
for development, beyond their ability and their resources to carry out. 

Trades and occupations were regulated ; the wages paid, and the prices 
of commodities produced, were determined by enactments, which, in one form 
or another, had the force of Royal authority. France with this system had 
reached, in the years immediately preceding this period, a commanding 
position, not only in military affairs, but in arts, manufactures, and ship- 
building. 4 Her industries still retain the direction, and in instances the 
eminence, they attained in the earlier years of Louis's reign before Louvois 
became more powerful in his councils than Colbert. A system which produced 
such results, one akin to that under which modern nations are making great 
progress, had unquestioned merits. These are, however, most conspicuous in a 
country of settled conditions, of regular economic development. Among the 
ever-changing circumstances of a new settlement, regulations made by the best 
intentioned of bureaucrats were hampering to the settlers. The system accounts, 
in part at least, for the centrifugal tendency of the people of the French 
colonies. The energetic and the enterprising went to the confines of colonial 
civilization to escape rules which fettered their activities. This tendency is most 
marked among the coureurs du bois of Canada. It is also seen in Isle Royale, for 
Ingonish soon became, after Louisbourg, the principal place in the colony. 
This was attributed by the authorities to the absence there of any settled 
administration.*" Distance, the lack of supervision, the personal interest of 

1 Colbert, Deschamps, p. 161. 

2 Cf. Mims, Colbert's ffest Indian Policy, Yale Historical Press, 1912. 
8 Instances were not uncommon in Louisbourg. 

4 Even when, at a later time, England was destroying her naval power, supremacy in shipbuilding had not passed from 
France. It was acknowledged in the saying current in the rival service, "The French to build ships, the English to 
fight "em." 


officials, however, made it easy to ignore instructions from the home authorities, 
of which the rigid observance was unpopular, inconvenient, or unprofitable. 1 

These regulations have sometimes been described as if the intention of the 
authorities was to gratuitously vex and annoy the colonist. There is abundant 
evidence that the intention was to help him. The dependence of English 
ministers on parliamentary majorities, of which the members of trading 
constituencies were a part, made a care of the commercial interests of the 
country indispensable. Their French contemporaries were also zealous in doing 
all they could to promote trade. Suggestions were made of means by which 
the volume of business could be increased or more effectively carried on. The 
early history of Cape Breton furnishes these examples. In 1687 coal was 
taken from the island to France and tried in the royal forges ; a little earlier 
(1681) trade with the West Indian colonies was considered ; while a scheme for 
establishing an entrepot at which seagoing ships would exchange cargoes with 
lighter vessels, the former, thus relieved from the tedious voyage to Quebec, to 
have time for two voyages a year instead of one, was favourably looked on by 
Colbert. 2 Coal from Cape Breton was made free of duty, as at a later date 
were its other principal products. 

The Council of Commerce founded by Colbert in 1664, the scope of which 
was greatly extended in i 700, did much to promote French trade and to relieve 
it from regulations which fettered it. Many volumes of its deliberations are 
extant. 3 In these it is rare to find a case in which the decision is not in favour 
of the trader. An English writer in 1745 ascribes to its fostering "the Steps 
by which the French Commerce and Colonies, from being inferior to ours, have 
risen to a dangerous Superiority over us, in less than half a Century." 4 

The decisions of this body and the enactments of all contemporary 
authorities were dominated by a theory which has had some influence to within 
memory of the living, namely, the conception that colonies were entirely for j 
the benefit of the mother-country. It was stated as follows by the writer 
of a memorial on the settlement of Cape Breton : " Colonies are necessary 
only as they are useful to the states from which they take their origin ; they 
are useful only in as much as they procure for these states new advantages and 
solid means of extending their commerce." When the interests of the 
French merchant clashed with those of the colonist, the latter had to give way. 5 
There does not seem to be any evidence that the French had, as had in a misty 

"A de distance! auui grandes, quellc peut etre 1'cnergie des I"ix de la metropole sur les sujets, 1'obeTssance de 
sujeti a c loi " (Raynal, Iitei Franf.nti, p. 3). The amc msregard was shown in the English colonies. Cf. Channing, 
Hiittrj tftke U.S. vol. ii. chap. viii. 

2 Ar. Col. B, vol. i, p. i;-. Other reference* are B. vol. 13, pp. 59 and 6-, and MSS. Ouc. vol. i, pp. 243, 2-6. 

1 Ar. Nit. F. 12. 

4 Statt ef tke Bnink ax.i Frtnch TraJe CzmptreJ, London, 1745, quoted in "Two Letters on Cape Breton," 
London, 1746. s Instances of this occur in the history of Louibourg. Cf. p. 49. 


instinctive way the English, the foreshadowing of the Imperial idea of mother- 
country and colony, sharing burdens and mutually adapting production to a 
common profit. We do not find in their administration anything to correspond 
to the permitted competition on equal terms of the cheaply built colonial ship 
with English vessels, 1 nor the prohibition of growing tobacco at home, for the 
advantage of the southern colonies. 

There followed from this theory the prohibition of trade with foreigners. 
In this regard the system broke down. Communities in which trade was of 
paramount importance evaded and defied those enactments, which interfered 
with profits. A course of illicit trade which could scarcely be called smuggling, 
so open and well known it was, contributed to the prosperity of every European 
establishment over seas. Louisbourg did much trade with New England. The 
condition in these British colonies is thus described : 

" The existing records of original transactions are few and scattered, yet enough remains 
to show clearly that the commercial business of New England went forward under different 
forms in the several governments, but always towards one end. That end was money and 
profit, parliamentary law and Crown administration to the contrary notwithstanding. The 
interesting letter cited from Gilbert Deblois, a Boston official, to Samuel Curwin, a 
prominent merchant of Salem, reveals the practice of Boston and Salem in handling 
imported merchandise which had escaped the King's duties : 

"Bos. Aug. 6, 1759. 
" Sam. Curwin, Esq., 

" Sir : I shall Esteem it a fav. you'l take an Opp y to Inform all your 
Merchts. & Others, Concerned in Shipping up Wine, Oyl, Olives, Figs, Raisins, &c., 
that I am Determined Publickly to Inform the Collector of this Port, of any those Articles 
I can find out, are on board any Vessell Commanded by or under the Care of Captain 
Ober, in order they may be Seized. I shall not Concern myself ab l any other Coaster, let 
'em bring up what they will, but this Capt. Ober has Cheated me in such a manner (tho 
to no great Value), that I'm determined to keep a good look out on him, therefore would 
have all those Concern'd in that Trade, Regulate themselves accordingly, & if they will 
Risque any such Prohibetted Goods in s d Ober 5 Vessell, they must not (after such notice 
of my Design) think hard of me, as what I may do will be to punish s d Ober and not them 
I have just told s d Ober that I would send this notification to Salem and w d Certainly get 
his Vessell & Cargo Seized sooner or Later. 

IamS r 

Your hble Serv* 

Gilbr. Deblois. 

" P.S. I'm a lover of Honest Men, therefore dont be Surprised at the above, as I look 
upon Ober to be a great Cheat. 

" Pray destroy this when done with." 

"Answered Aug 1 I3th." 

1 In 1724 sixteen shipbuilders of the Thames complained to the King that their trade was injured and their 
workmen emigrating on account of the New England competition (Weeden, vol. ii. p. 573). (For a brief, lucid statement 
of the English position, the reader is referred to Cambridge Modern History, vol. vi. ch. ii.) 


" The honest candour of the energetic Deblois in visiting vengeance on Captain Ober 
who had offended the official is as astonishing as it is naive. Here a public officer 
deliberately warns a community of respectable law-breakers that they will suffer the 
penalty due any and all transgression, if they presume to ship their goods by a particular 
and prescribed captain. c They must not (after such notice of my Design) think hard of 
me, as what I may do will be to punish s d Obcr and not them.' Debauched public 
sentiment and corrupt official practice was never more plainly manifest in an individual 
action. If we had Obcr's counter idea of honesty and cheating, then eighteenth-century 
public morality would stand out in full relief." l 

These practical and effective modifications of a parental system of 
administration, and the exploitation of colonies for the benefit of the merchant 
of the home ports, fitted in with the practice of others than the trading classes. 
Offices were bought, and the fees attached to them made their salaries com- 
paratively unimportant. The command of a British regiment which long 
served in Nova Scotia was computed to be worth 4000 a year. Prize money 
stimulated the commanders of King's ships, as booty the privateersman, nor did 
the commanders in the French navy disdain the profits of trade for which they 
carried a store of goods. 

Nevertheless the splendid spirit of the seventeenth century which rings out in 
Lescarbot's address to France 2 was not entirely dead. The letter of instructions 
to each new Governor of Isle Royale brings to his notice that the sole purpose 
of the King in colonization was the promotion of religion. This purpose so 
far held good, that, notwithstanding the enormous disadvantages at which the 
prohibition of the sale of drink placed the French trader competing for the 
trade of the natives, that prohibition was enforced. It also finds an expression, 
for example, in the letter of the Minister Pontchartrain to the officials of Isle 
Royale in which he says : " Nothing can contribute more to the success of the 
establishment, nor draw down on it more effectively the blessings of Heaven, 
than good order and the repression of license." 3 Nevertheless, it was in the 
main true of France, as of her rivals, that " the period is one of peace, uneventful, 
almost undisturbed ; its chief crisis due to stock-jobbing ; its chief disputes about 
currency ; its chief victories those of commerce ; its type, if not its hero, the 
business man." * 

Such was the general spirit of the times, the general principles on which 
the new colony was to be governed. 

The island had long been known. It was possibly a land-fall of the first 
explorers. The Basques, who were among its earliest fishermen, claimed that 

1 Wecclen, p. 660. 2 Lcscarbot, Ckanflain Softer); vol. i. p. 12. s June 4, 1-15, B, 3-, f. 226. 

4 Cambridge Modern History, vol. vi. p. 40. 

To fact page 9. 


long before Columbus their ancestors had visited its ports. It seems to owe 
its name to the town which stands at the place where the Adour once flowed 
into the Bay of Biscay. 1 Traders visited it for traffic with the Indians, and 
during each season the fishermen carried on their industry on the adjacent banks. 
Each nationality kept to its own ports for mutual help and protection, and the 
names of the principal harbours show this usage. Until 1713 Louisbourg was 
known as English Harbour (Havre a 1'Anglois) ; as late as the last generation 
deeds described lots as situated on the shores of " Sydney or Spanish Bay " (Baie 
des Espagnols), and a favourite patroness of the French gave her name, St. 
Anne, to the port frequented by the fishermen of that nation. Certain it is 
that during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it was constantly visited by 
European fishermen. In 1629 rival and ephemeral settlements were made on 
it by Lord Ochiltree for England, and Captain Daniel for France. About 
twenty years later Nicholas Denys of Tours had settlements at two places on 
Cape Breton, St. Peter's and St. Anne's, so well established that traces of them 
had not in a half-century of abandonment been obliterated by the wilderness. 

Little was known of it ; even its shape, that of a closed hand, with the index 
finger pointing to the north-east, is inaccurately given in all the earlier maps. 
Its strategic and commercial possibilities drew attention to it long before its 
resources were known. In 1613 it was proposed as the seat of a Viceroy 
controlling French interests in it and Newfoundland. 2 Under Colbert, in 
addition to the efforts to develop its trade already cited, a project was submitted 
which looked towards using the coal of the shores of Sydney harbour, the refining 
there of West India sugars, and the building of ships with the oak which grew 
to the water's edge. 

With the beginning of the eighteenth century interest in it was heightened. 
The Ste. Maries officers in the colonial troops asked for a grant of the island in 
lyoo. 3 Memorials flowed in to the Minister. He asked a report from Raudot, 
Intendant of Canada, on its settlement, which Raudot sent on in 1706,* and 
followed by other papers on the subject. About simultaneously with his first 
report, an anonymous memoir was sent to Pontchartrain. Raudot shows in his 
dealing with the question not only the capacity of the experienced administrator, 
but also of the political thinker. His estimate of the required outlay of the 
proposed establishment was not materially exceeded for many years after the 
foundation of the colony. Long before Adam Smith published his book, he 
recognized the advantages of freer trade. He thus concluded his first memoir : 

1 Ducere, Lei Corsaires. 

2 Bn. Nat. MSS., Moreau, 781. 

3 Arch. He la Fn., Carton 3, No. 130. 

4 This paper contains so much that is valuable about Cape Breton, as it was then thought to be more important 
than later acquired knowledge of its resources, that a precis is given later, p. 23. 


" If it is desired to establish this Island so that its commerce shall flourish, it is necessary 
to open to it intercourse with all the ports of France, of Spain, of the Levant, of the trench 
West Indies and of New England." l 

One is inclined to ascribe the difficulties of the establishment on Cape 
Breton to the incapacity of Pontchartrain, as his defects have been kept alive for 
readers of memoirs in the scathing pages of St. Simon. For five or six years 
no project concerned with the American colonies had been placed before him 
more fully. He was apparently not only interested, but convinced of the 
advantages to France of the colony, and deferred action only until the end of 
the war. Before the Treaty was concluded he was aware that Placentia was to 
be ceded, and therefore that the establishment on Cape Breton was essential. 
He had warned his colonial subordinates to prepare for the change. 

When the time for action came, Pontchartrain took the ground that he was 
inadequately informed, and secured the sanction of the Council for his scheme. 
It passed an order that a vessel should be sent with certain officers from the 
garrison of Placentia, who with L'Hermitte, major and engineer of that place, 
should select the most suitable port. This, the Minister states in his letter of 
instructions, must be good, easy for ingress, exit, and defence ; that the fisheries 
shall be abundant and near ; that there shall be plenty of beaches and space for 
curing ; that there shall be good lands near ; but that the excellence of the port and 
the fishing is of prime importance. 2 

This policy was carried out ; Placentia was handed over to the English, the 
inhabitants and the movable property transferred to Cape Breton, but as the 
English were not ready to take possession, 8 Costebelle 4 the Governor and part 
of the garrison had to remain there until the transaction was completed, and 
until preparations were made for receiving the inhabitants in their new homes. 

This disturbing of their organizations for the prosecution of the fisheries 
led to appeals from the people of the fishing ports of France to have an 
arrangement made with England by which they could carry on in Newfoundland 
that industry during 1714. Pontchartrain, however, informed, among others, the 
Bayle and Jurats of Siboure and of St. Jean de Luz that this was impossible, 
and described to them Isle Royale in attractive colours. St. Ovide de Brouillant 5 
was in France in the spring of 1713 and received instructions to go at once to 

1 Raudot's paper is summarized by Charlevoix and in Brown's Htittry of C a ft Brit. 

1 B, vol. 35. * English Documents in C.O., Grants and Warrants, vol. 15. 

* Philippe Patteur de Cotcbelle, Lieut, at Pl.icentia, 1692 ; Capt. 1694 ; Lieut, de Roi, 1695 j Governor Placentia, 
1706 j Chev. de St. Louis, 1708 ; Governor Isle Royale, 1714 ; died Nov. 16, 1717. 

* Ste. Ovide de Brouillant, nephew of de Brouillant, Governor of Newfoundland and Acadia, entered the naval service as 
Garde-Marine in 1689. He went to Newfoundland in 1691 and took part in the defence* and attacks of the local war 
until i"io, in which year he served on the frigate La t'aleur, received two wounds, and spent some time in prison in 
England. Passing to Isle Royale in 1713 as King's Lieutenant, he succeeded Costebelle as Governor in 1717, and retired 
with a pension of 3100 livres in 1738. 


La RochelJe and embark on the Scmslack? commanded by Lieut. Meschin, 2 
then a young officer whose service in the navy was to extend in all over sixty 
years. Ste. Ovide was to command the expedition. On her also were to 
embark the officers and men of the Acadian Companies who had been at Oleron 
near Rochelle since their surrender in 1710 at Port Royal. 

In his course Pontchartrain gave some weight to the representations of 
Villien, an officer of long experience in garrison at Port Royal in Acadia, who 
represented that the troops from this place, familiar with local conditions, should 
form part of the garrison ; that some Acadians, for the same reason, should be 
sent, and that great care in choosing a site should be exercised, as mistakes had 
been made both in Canada and in Louisiana which had proved costly to the 
King and discouraging to the inhabitants ; a frank criticism which is not unique 
in correspondence of the Navy Department. 

The officers who embarked in France were four in number, with two cadets, 
two servants, and fifteen soldiers. At Placentia the Semslack took on board 
L'Hermitte, de la Ronde Denys, de la Valliere, and twenty-five soldiers, some 
officials, women, and children, the meagre stores which the Minister had ordered 
to be sent, and sailed from Placentia on July 23. Pontchartrain ordered 
her to proceed after Placentia to Quebec. Vaudreuil the Governor, and 
d'Alogny, commander of the troops in Canada, had been ordered to select 
from the troops under their charge forty or fifty men, some of them skilled 
axemen, but all steady, strong, handy, and industrious. These men, under 
command of two officers who were serving in Canada, De Rouville and Pean, 
were to form part of the new garrison. The Semslack could not get to Quebec 
in time ; Begon the Intendant therefore chartered from Boularderie a name we 
shall continually meet a vessel in which he, a retired naval officer, was trading, 
on which these troops and some provisions were carried to Cape Breton. 

The ordinary sources do not give any account of the voyage of the Semslack^ 
but the declaration of taking possession indicated generally their course, and that 
the Quebec detachment had joined them before they arrived. This declaration 
runs as follows : 

In the year 1713 and the 2nd day of September, we, Joseph Ovide de Brouillant, 
King's Lieutenant at Plaisance, Knight of the Military Order of St. Louis, commanding 
His Majesty's ship Semslack with M. L'Hermitte, Major and Engineer, La Ronde and 

1 The Semslack was a vessel of 270 tons, captured from the Dutch in 1703, and used by the French as a freighter 
and fire-ship. Her crew and armament on a peace footing was 100 men and 14 guns, in war 140 men and 28 guns, half of 
which were six and the others four pounders. She was described as an ordinary sailer, and disappears from the Navy 
Lists in 1718 (Arch. Nat. Marine, n, and B 5, Marine 3). 

2 Jeremie de Meschin, born in 1674, entered as Garde-Marine at Rochefort in 1687, promoted Enseigne in 1700, 
commanded a fire-ship in 1711, but did not reach the full grade of Capitaine de Vasseau until 1738. He saw much 
service. He died in 1757 (Dicticnnaire de la Noblesse, La Chenaye-Debois, vol. x., Paris, 1775). 


Rouville, Captains, and other officers named below, have seized and taken possession of the 
Island of Cape Breton, situated in the entrance to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, following the 
orders which we have thereon from His Most Christian Majesty, dated the 20th day of 
March of the present year, to place there the inhabitants of Plaisance, St. Pierre, and other 
places which have been ceded by the treaty of peace to the Queen of Great Britain. 

We declare and testify to all whom it may concern, to have found on the said island 
but one French inhabitant and twenty-five or thirty families of Indians, and that the said 
Island of Cape Breton was ceded about eighty years ago to Messieurs Denis of Tours, who 
established there two forts, one in the Bay of Ste. Anne's and the other at Port St. Peter 
near the Strait of Canccau, of which we have still found traces, and after having visited 
all the ports in the said Island of Cape Breton which have been indicated to us, we believed 
and decided that we could not make a better choice for the present than that of Port St. 
Louis, formerly known as English Harbour, in which port we have this day landed the 
troops, the munitions of war and provisions which we have left under the orders of Sr. 
L'Hermitte. Signed by Decouagne, De Lavalliere, De Laperrelle, P6an Delivandiere, de 
Pensens, La Ronde Denys, de Rouville, Duvivier, f. Dominique De Lamarche (Recollet), 
L'Hermitte, St. Ovide de Brouillant. 

The Semslack sailed back to France with St. Ovide on board, and arrived 
in the first part of December at the Isle d'Aix. 1 He made his report to the 
Minister, and the tentative name of Port St. Louis, which they gave to Havre 
a 1'Anglois, was changed to Louisbourg. 2 Ste. Anne's was to be called Port 
Dauphin ; St. Peter's, Port Toulouse ; and the whole island, Isle Royale. 8 

The little band of 116 men, 10 women, and 23 children, the founders of 
Louisbourg, were left on the thickly wooded shores of that harbour with an 
inadequate equipment and an unknown wilderness before them. 

The supplies were four fishing boats and their gear, four herring nets and a seine ; six 
cannons from St. John's, balls, masons' tools and picks, two hundredweight of resin, a forge 
and bellows, and the King's mules and the horses from St. John's ; from Quebec three 
hundredweight of flour, ten barrels of peas, one barrel of Indian corn, forty pairs of snow- 
shoes, 150 pairs of mocassins, one deerskin, 1000 planks, thirty shovels, eighty little axes, 
300 pounds of tobacco, three barrels of tar, and six cows. Costebelle added to this a few 
pounds of steel and sixty axes, all he could obtain in Placentia. An ample list had been 
made out for supplies from France, but were apparently only partly shipped. The Minister 
ordered specially 100 axes from a maker, one Bidard, near Bayonne, as he had the reputation 
of being a specially good workman. 4 

They made their encampment at the Barachois, formed by a little brook, 
directly across the south-west arm of Louisbourg harbour from the site on which 
the town was afterwards built. 5 They made some rough preparations for shelter, 
and began thereafter the task which lay before them. The first thing which 

1 Marine, B 2 , f. 135. 2 Arch. Col. B, vol. 36. 

3 The importance of the illegitimate children of the King it shown in the honour done to the Comte dc Toulouse, 
the son of Madame de Montespan. Arch. Col. B, 35. f. 230. 

8 The advantages of the beaches on the latter side caued some of the people to settle there at once. 


was done was to cut through the woods a road to the Mire, along the banks of 
which was the most available supply of timber. At this they were working early 
in October, and later the detachments were, sent into the woods to cut timber 
for the proposed buildings, in particular the barracks, which L'Hermitte had 
at once designed. A detachment of troops under Duvivier was placed at the 
head of the river, and that of Rouville about twelve miles lower down. Duvivier 
was in a poor district, and a month was wasted before L'Hermitte visited the 
encampment and moved him to a more favourable place. The inexperience of 
most of the officers told against their effectiveness. L'Hermitte wished for four 
or five like Rouville, and while he considered all the soldiers good, the Canadians 
proved particularly valuable. On the other hand, he says that only five men 
in Duvivier's detachment knew how to saw, and that had it not been for a 
small quantity of steel sent by Costebelle, they would have been without axes ; 
but in spite of all these disadvantages they got out more timber than they were 
able to transport in the next season to Louisbourg. 

The season was a bad one ; winter set in early, the men suffered from 
scurvy, and as early as December they had to kill the cattle sent from Quebec. 
Three of their horses, the spoils of the capture of St. John's, succumbed ; and 
out of twenty-one head of cattle with which they began, only two were alive 
in the spring, which this year reached almost the extreme limit of the island's 
climatic unsatisfactoriness. Snow was on the ground, and drift-ice off the coast, 
as late as the end of May. The first vessel to arrive, the Hercule, was in the 
icefields for twenty days, and a small vessel laden with provisions for the troops 
at Mire was wrecked on her voyage. 

La Ronde Denys, Couagne, who was an engineer, and Rouville had been 
sent to examine Port Dauphin and to explore the country. They came back 
with a good report, having examined the fertile lands on the Bras d'Or about 
Baddeck, and found them suitable for settlement. 

In the interval L'Hermitte worked over his plans for fortifications, and 
submitted them to Vaudreuil and Begon, the Governor-General and Intendant 
of Canada, who arrived at Louisbourg on the 2Oth of May and remained there 
until the yth of June. He discussed with them on the ground the simple system 
of isolated forts which he proposed to build. He received from the Minister 
instructions that the works should be built solidly, and, in his trouble, bitterness 
of heart showed through the respectful phrases of his reply. There was 
neither building stone nor lime, and as the vessels had brought no supplies, his 
many workmen were ineffective, for he had neither nails nor iron, and only 
eighteen bad axes and twelve picks. He also was without funds, and found that 
the Indians would not work without pay. 

While this work was going on steps were taken towards the removal of 

i 4 THE ACADIANS 1714 

the Acadians to Isle Royale. By Article XIV. of the Treaty of Utrecht, they 
were entitled to remove from Acadia with their personal effects within one year. 
C^ueen Anne, to mark her recognition of Louis XIV. having released, at her 
request, French Protestants from the galleys, gave special permission to those 
who left the country to sell their lands. 1 

The twenty-four hundred Acadians affected by these provisions were the 
descendants of about sixty families brought from Western France in 1633-38, 
and of one hundred and twenty or thirty men who settled in the colony 
between that time and its cession to England. 2 The earliest settlers were 
familiar with the reclamation of marsh lands by dyking as practised in their 
native districts. They found conditions favourable to this system on the shores 
of the Bay of Fundy, " the Coasts whereof and the banks of the adjacent Rivers 
abound with Salt Marshes, which by the Force of a Rich Soil, constantly 
recruited with marine Salts, and so, not to be impoverished, by constant 
Tillage, produce large crops of English grain, with little labour to the 

The waters of this bay are indeed a fountain of perpetual youth, for some 
of these lands, never fertilized but by the deposits of its tides, still bear most 
abundant crops within dykes built by the French, and in the work of bringing 
in the marshes which is now going on about the Isthmus of Chignecto no 
change has been made from the methods of the Acadian pioneers. As land of 
this extraordinary fertility could be obtained for the most part by co-operative 
dyking, and yielded its crops with a minimum of labour, the Acadian was 
indisposed to attack the adjoining forest to obtain land relatively poor. Their 
settlements, except as determined by the seat of Government, were therefore 
at points where these advantages could be obtained. Vetch, who governed 
Annapolis for three years, says they had five thousand black cattle " and a great 
number of Sheep and Hoggs," indicative of a fair degree of prosperity. The 
name of Port Royal had been changed to Annapolis Royal, and there, Francis 
Nicholson, who had seen a varied service in all the colonies from Virginia 
northwards, had charge of Acadia as Governor-General and Commander-in- 
Chief of all the forces in that province and in Newfoundland. His Lieutenant- 
Governor was Thomas Caulfield, and these two, with a very small military and 
civil establishment, administered a British colony, none of the people of which 
were British subjects. The French Court was extremely anxious to accomplish 
the removal of its former subjects to French territory. The Ministerial 
correspondence contains many letters to Vaudreuil, to the other Canadian 
officials, and to the priests of Acadia, asking for their help to incite the Acadians 

1 N.S. Arch. vol. i, p. 15. * Hannay, Hiit-.ry cf Acadij, p. 290. 

3 Skirttf Afev::irs. 174", p. 3. 


to take advantage of their treaty rights. 1 The efforts made went further. 
Baron de St. Castin received much praise for not having availed himself of a 
leave of absence, but instead spent the winter among the Acadian Indians with 
whom he was allied by ties of companionship and blood, in an effort to induce 
them to move to Isle Royale. In this he was not successful, but he received 
praise for having kept alive their unfriendly feelings against the English, and 
these good offices doubtless led the authorities to condone his behaviour in the 
previous winter by which he had scandalized the nuns in Quebec. 2 

L'Hermitte, on the 23rd of July 1714, addressed a letter to Nicholson, 
quoting the terms of the treaty by which the Acadians might withdraw. His 
orders were that should he learn that the Acadians were hindered in taking 
advantage of these privileges he should send an officer to confer with Nicholson, 
to whom was addressed the Queen's letter 3 granting the additional concessions. 
He goes on to say that several Acadians had informed him that Caulfield had 
refused permission to certain who wished to leave, and in consequence he sends 
to him Captain La Ronde Denys, bearing the orders of the King, to discuss the 
matter with him, and trusts that Nicholson has no other views than carrying out 
the wishes of his Sovereign, concluding with a request that they should mutually 
return deserters for the benefit of each colony. A few days later St. Ovide also 
writes that he is sending Captain de Pensens with L'Hermitte's letter, and asks 
Nicholson to discuss these questions with the two officers. 

They set out from Louisbourg on two vessels, both of which had arrived 
at Annapolis before July 23, for on that day they write to Nicholson beginning, 
" We de la Ronde Denys and de Pensens, Captains of Companies Franches de 
la Marine, which His Christian Majesty maintains at Isle Royale, sent by 
Monsieur St. Ovide de Brouillan, Lieutenant du Roy of the said Island to 
represent to Monsieur de Nicholson General de la Nouvelle Ecosse et Isle de 
Terre Neuve " the rights which Her British Majesty has been pleased to accord 
to the inhabitants of the said country, and as the intention of His Most Christian 
Majesty is to maintain them, we beg the General to give attention to the 
following articles. These were : a request that he would cause to be assembled, 
first the inhabitants of Port Royal, thereafter those of the other settlements, and 
appoint a British officer who with one of them would hear and register the 
decisions of the inhabitants as to remaining in Acadia or leaving ; that those 
who decide to go shall have a year from the time permission is given, during 
which time they may live without molestation from the authorities, carry away 
all their personal property ; build vessels for this purpose ; that there shall be 
no obstacles to bringing in French rigging for such vessels ; that the General 

1 I.R. Series B, vols. 35 and 36. 2 A.N. C", (Canada), vol. 33, f. 265. 

3 June 13, 1713. 


should publish in all inhabited places permission for them to sell their lands, for 
the English to buy them, and that if within the year they cannot sell, they shall 
have the right to give a power of attorney to some one to act for them until 
buyers are found ; and finally, that justice shall be done to those who have 
suffered at the hands of Vetch and Colonel Hobby in the time between the 
capitulation and the treaty of peace. To this they add a postscript, saying 
that as one of them must return at once to give a report, they beg that he will 
assemble the inhabitants no later than Sunday the 25th. 

This was immediately taken into consideration by the Council, and, as an 
answer, a copy of the minutes was returned. The assembly of the inhabitants 
was granted, Major .Mascarene and Lieut. Bennett were appointed to go with 
the French envoys to the other settlements and carry out the negotiations in the 
same way as at Annapolis, and to arrange with Denys their time of leaving and 
the means of transport ; the Governor would not fix the time when the year 
of grace was to begin, but would submit the matter to the decision of Her 
Majesty, as well as all the other points raised, except the last, on which he asked 
for all available information, and promised full justice. 

The proclamation calling together the inhabitants was issued and the 
meeting held on the feast-day of St. Louis at the fort of Annapolis. The 
Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, and the principal officers of the garrison were 
present, as were two missionaries, the Fathers Justinien and Bonaventure, and 
Father Gaulin the priest. La Ronde Denys alone represented France as 
De Pensens was unwell. A list was made of the inhabitants present, they 
numbered nine hundred and sixteen, represented by one hundred and sixty-nine 
heads of families. 1 They encircled the officers in the square, and heard read to 
them Nicholson's order for the meeting and the Queen's letter, both of which 
were translated for them, and the latter formally compared with La Ronde's 
copy. Then, invited by Nicholson, La Ronde made his propositions. If his 
letters indicate his oratorical style he was a fervid speaker, careless of grammar, 
and not altogether accurate as to facts. 2 He, on this occasion, went beyond his 
instructions in the promises he made to the Acadians. He spoke of the goodwill 
of the King who would furnish to them vessels for their transport, provisions 
for a year to those who needed them, freedom from duties on all their trade for 
ten years, and added a promise which was of great importance to them, for the 
Acadians disliked the land system of Canada, that there would be no seignories, 
but that they would hold their lands direct from the King. Nicholson added that 
he was ready to receive any complaints of bad treatment. La Ronde thanked 

1 151 men, 165 women, 325 boyi, 275 girls. 

2 L'Hermitte laid of him that hii flatteries and lies would trouble the universe. The Minister wrote to Beauharnois 
May 18, 1728 about La Ronde Denys then serving in Canada, "Of all the officers in the colony he is the least deserving 
of consideration " (B, vol. 53). 


him in the name of all the inhabitants for " the civil, upright and frank manner " 
in which he had acted with them, and then by his permission they went to 
La Ronde's lodgings and there one hundred and forty-six of them signed " avec 
toute la joie et le contentment dont nous sornmes capables " the document by 
which they pledged themselves to live and die faithful subjects of Louis and to 
migrate to Isle Royale. 

Fifteen embarked immediately on the Marie Joseph and went to Cape 
Breton with De Pensens. Of these only one of those whose age is given 
was under forty, and as regards social status they were about equally divided 
between those who had a trunk and those who had their property in bags. 1 
Charles D'Entremont, Sieur de Pobomicou, his wife, son, and daughter, went 
on their own vessel with a crew of two, and four passengers. The details 
bear out Vetch's statement that these first emigrants were of no very great 

The transaction at Annapolis being thus concluded, La Ronde Denys and 
the two British officers went to Minas, where the inhabitants met them, were 
numbered, and one hundred and thirty-nine agreed to go to Isle Royale. 
[Population : 139 men, 140 women, 306 boys, 289 girls ; total, 874 ; heads of 
families, 145.] At Cobequid seventeen signed. [Population : 20 men, 20 
women, 52 boys, 44 girls ; total, 136 ; 21 heads of families.] La Ronde Denys 
then told the English officers that everything had been done to his satisfaction. 
They set sail together and the vessels parted company in the basin of Minas on 
September 8, La Ronde on the St. Louis, having with him several inhabitants, 
one of them with a substantial quantity of grain. 

These transactions were carried out with great formality, certified copies 
of all documents were interchanged, and there was no disagreement between the 
parties. Nicholson wrote civilly to L'Hermitte and St. Ovide, and both 
Governors sent a report of these events to the home authorities. In the accounts 
of the meetings at Cobequid and Minas, there is no mention of the priests 
having been present. The proportion of signers at these two meetings was even 
greater than at Annapolis, so that the inhabitants did not require the direct 
presence of their leaders to make them follow wishes, which, however, these 
leaders had previously many opportunities of making known to them. In any 
community so simply organized that it contains no great landed proprietors and 
few, if any, lawyers or professional men, whether the religion of that community 
be Roman Catholic or Protestant, the influence of the clergymen in all matters 
is great. It seems to have been so in New England at that time ; those who 
knew Cape Breton a generation ago, know its force then, and that in civil 
affairs the dictum of a Presbyterian divine was as potent as that of a priest. It 

1 The live stock they took with them was twelve sheep, three bullocks, a cow and a calf. 


is inevitable that such power should exist ; its justification is in the results which 
follow its exercise. 

The mission of La Ronde was highly successful. With a few exceptions 
all the people he saw agreed to go to Isle Royale. No obstacle was put in their 
way, and the outcome would seem to have depended entirely on the French 
authorities carrying out the promises which had been made on their behalf. 
The population of Beaubassin and the other settlements about the isthmus of 
Chignecto were not visited by La Ronde and Mascarene. 1 

While but a score or so of Acadians accompanied the Envoys on their 
return to Isle Royale, certain others more enterprising had previously gone 
there. Two brothers from the head of the river at Annapolis, anxious about 
their destiny, " which they could not ascertain in that country," 2 started in a Biscay 
shallop towards the end of May, and coasted along the shores of Nova Scotia 
to Isle Royale. On the eighth day they arrived at St. Peter's and Isle Madame, 
then they spent a day at Louisbourg, another at Mordienne (Port Morien), the 
following at St. Anne's, where a Canadian had already settled and the fisheries 
were being successfully prosecuted. Returning, they called at L'Indienne 
(Lingan), abounding in coal and oysters, with one inhabitant ; at Menadou 
(Mainadieu), and came back to Louisbourg on June 15. There they remained, 
building a house for M. Rodrigue, lately King's pilot at Annapolis, until 
August 12, and then proceeded along the coast, through Canso, home by 
Baie Verte. They give a fair picture of Louisbourg, with what they describe 
as a large fort which was being built, many cannons landed on the shore, ninety- 
three from Placentia, vessels making a good catch of cod, two King's ships 
about to sail for Placentia. Reports were abroad that the Char en te would 
shortly arrive with supplies, and also the Affriquain from Quebec with 

1 The authentic* for this episode are to be found at Ottawa (M. ^^), and Record Office j B.T.N.S. vol. I, has the 
English version. The population is based on a table prepared for me at the Canadian Archives, which may be condensed thus : 
Men. Women. Boys. Girls. Total. Heads of Families. 

151 165 325 275 916 169 

1J9 HO 306 289 874 145 

20 20 52 44 157 21 

55 58 136 102 351 56 

365 383 819 710 2277 391 

A total population of 2277, which with 123 at outlying points makes 2400. One third of the signers of the declaration* 
were able to sign their names ; out of 302 heads of families all but 100 signed with a mark. 
a B.T.N.S. vol. 2, 66. 


Vaudreuil on board. They saw there a Boston trader with boards, salt, and 
general merchandise ; and on their way home passed another from Cascoe Bay, 
with the same cargo. All these facts they swore to in a declaration made before 
Nicholson on their return, but this document is silent as to their destinies. 

Another Acadian, one Arceneau, adventurous enough to voyage in a canoe 
from Baie Verte to the Baie de Chaleurs, and then in a shallop to Louisbourg, 
makes the same report of good fishing not only on the Cape Breton coast but 
among the many Basque vessels in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 1 L'Hermitte, 
authorized to place people on the land at the King's pleasure, gave, up to the 
end of August, permission to twenty-four Acadians to settle on a little river 
near St. Peter's. Another party was also sent there, but without any definite 
promise of land, as L'Hermitte wished to have them as settlers at Port Dauphin. 
After Vaudreuil's second visit in October a party of Acadians was sent under 
the leadership of De Couagne to inspect the lands on the Bras d'Or, but 
they did not approve of them, and the officials thought that their secret desire 
was to go to the Isle St. Jean (Prince Edward Island). The comparison from 
a farming standpoint of the best lands in well-wooded Isle Royale, and the 
meadows which they had reclaimed, or which lay ready for reclamation, along 
the Bay of Fundy, was so obviously to the disadvantage of the former, that it 
demanded a genuine loyalty to consider emigration. A council was held at 
Louisbourg on October 16, at which Vaudreuil and the Recollect Missionary, 
Felix Pain, were present, with Costebelle and the new Commissaire-Ordonnateur, 
Soubras. Regret was expressed that the promises made to the Acadians had 
not been kept, and they were specifically renewed for another year. 

Costebelle had remained at Placentia. He was advised in the autumn of 
1713, that to avoid the hardship of moving in the inclement season the 
evacuation was off until the spring, and at the close of the year issued a 
proclamation to the people announcing the cession of the island and the necessity 
for removal to Cape Breton. The English expedition to take possession of 
Newfoundland, two regiments under the command of Colonel Moody, had 
been driven into Vigo and had spent the winter at Lisbon, and only arrived in 
Newfoundland the next year,. During the season the guns and stores were 
transported to Cape Breton. On July 23, 1714, Costebelle himself left on the 
Heros, and in the autumn the inhabitants straggled over in their own boats. 
The weather was bad, some were lost, and all suffered in this difficult voyage. 

Thus the year ended. Some building was done, but L'Hermitte was in 
despair about the ineffectiveness of the troops, the lack of care of the King's 
stores, the use by private individuals of the building material he had gathered, 

1 These voyages in small boats may stand to the credit of the Acadians against the many bad reports given of them 
by the French authorities. 


and the evils of divided authority. Soubras, the newly appointed Commissaire- 
Ordonnateur, complained of the bad effects of drink ; of the gambling and 
mutinous soldiery, who, nevertheless, were better paid, fed, and clothed than any 
troops he had ever seen ; and of the ineffectiveness of L'Hermitte. The soldiers 
had not received the bonus for their work which had been promised. This had 
not only made it exceedingly ineffective, but had aggravated them to the point 
of mutiny, and they had begun that excessive indulgence in drink with which 
the authorities were powerless to cope. 

It had been intended that the troops should winter in Baie des Espagnols, 
but the necessary arrangements were not 'made, and in December it was decided 
to place them at Mire, where the cabins left standing from last year could be 
utilized. Sickness prevailed, and the first death noted at Louisbourg is that of 
M. Du Vivier. On the other hand the fishing had been excellent, fourteen or 
fifteen vessels had engaged in it, fewer than would have been the case had there 
not been a scarcity of salt in France. As it had been bad in Newfoundland, it 
gave the newcomers a favourable impression of the country, arduous as had 
been the struggle with the elements by which they reached it. 

The population in January 1715 numbered about 720, exclusive of unmarried soldiers, 
but including military and civil officers. It was arranged by habitations, and with few 
exceptions they were the people from Placentia (men, 118; women, 80 ; children, 170; 
servants, 39 ; fishermen, 300). Incidentally this document throws light on the way of life 
in the colony. The Governor, Costebelle, whose salary was 4000 livres, lived alone. His 
establishment consisted of a secretary, one woman and two men servants, and seventeen 
fishermen. St. Ovide had with him his wife, three children, and three men servants, a 
gardener, cook and valet, and he employed thirteen fishermen. Soubras kept a bachelor 
establishment with two young officers, Fontenay and Pe"an, and had ten fishers. L'Hermitte 
had a clerk and eight fishers, and his household arrangements were looked after by his wife 
and one servant. St. Marie had twelve fishers and seven men on his boat (batteau), but 
La Ronde, Rouville, Legondez, and other officers did not fish. 1 

The merchants who flourished at Louisbourg, and whose names reappear 
from time to time in the scanty records of its commerce, for the most part 
came this year, and already had formed establishments, the largest of which 
were those of Berrichon, Rodrigue, and Daccarette, respectively of twenty- 
nine, twelve, and nineteen men. There were among the women five widows 
of the official class, the most recent being Madame Du Vivier, who had 
arrived with her children from France only a short time before her husband's 
death, and eight others, of whom three had fishing establishments, two of them 
of importance, one with twelve and the other with thirteen men. The widow 
Onfroy of St. Malo claimed that she was the first to send vessels to Cape 

1 I.R.G. 466. 


Breton, and with such satisfactory results that the fleets of St. Malo and 
Grandville imitated her. 1 This much is certain at this early time, that the 
fishing was largely done by Basques. The Acadian explorers of this year 
mention only Basque vessels on their voyages in the gulf and on the coasts 
of Cape Breton. 

The new establishment was amid surroundings which might appear 
unfavourable, and while it was inadequately supported by the home authorities, 
its personnel could not have found Louisbourg relatively unsatisfactory. Most 
of the officers had been a long time in Placentia, and although Costebelle 
places both towns " in the most sterile deserts of America," in climate and 
other conditions the comparison is not against Isle Royale. Rouville and 
his Canadians were now in a less severe climate than Quebec, and the nucleus 
of the population were fisher-folk from Newfoundland, skilled in an art which 
they began at once to practise under conditions which they found, allowance 
being made for the unsettled condition and high prices of a new colony, not 
unfavourable. With an Acadian population drawn to Isle Royale, as seemed 
probable, its position would be strong. Colonel Vetch, unlikely to overvalue 
the Acadians, thus expresses the advantage to France of the conditions which 
they expected to find the next year (1715) in Cape Breton : 

" And as the accession of such a number of Inhabitants to Cape Breton will make it 
at once a very populous Colony ; (in which the strength of all the Country's consists) So it 
is to be considered that one hundred of the French, who were born upon that continent, 
and are perfectly known in the woods, can march upon snowshoes, and understand the use 
of Birch Canoes, are of more value and service than five times their number of raw men, 
newly come from Europe. So their skill in the Fishery, as well as the cultivating of the 
soil, must inevitably make that Island, by such an accession of people, and French, at once 
the most powerful colony the French have in America, and of the greatest danger and 
damage to all the British Colony's as well as the universal trade of Great Britain." 2 

One, Jethro Furber, who declared vaguely that, being on a voyage, probably 
smuggling, he took refuge in Louisbourg, gives an interesting picture, closely 
tallying with that of the Acadians, of the new settlement, "with forty vessels 
loading and six sail of men-of-warr in its harbour, commodious enough for 
five hundred sail of shipps," its fishing so good that the boats twice daily 
brought in their loads, and its people elated that " ye English gave them a 
Wedge of Gold tor a piece of silver." 3 

These testimonies seem to justify entirely the view taken in the first 
appeal for funds for Louisbourg which Pontchartrain makes to the King's 
Treasurer : 

1 Arch. Col. B, 36. 2 Nova Scotia Archives, vol. i, p. 6. 

8 An affidavit signed at Kingston in Jamaica, April 20, 1715 (B.T.N.S. vol. 2). 


"The English are well aware of the importance of this post, and are already taking 
umbrage in the matter. They sec that it will be prejudicial to their trade, and that in 
time of war it will be a menace to their shipping, and on the first outbreak of trouble they 
will be sure to use every means to get possession of it. It is therefore necessary to fortify 
it thoroughly. If France were to lose this Island the loss would be an irreparable one, and 
it would involve the loss of all her holdings in North America." 1 



This anonymous memoir is worthy of attention, as it is written by one 
who had been on the ground, and sets forth what he conceived to be the 
advantages of the proposed colony and its resources. In passages which have 
not been reprinted he refers several times to the visit of the fleet of the 
Chevalier du Palais to Baie des Espagnols in 1692, and writes of that port as 
an eye-witness. It is probable that he was an officer in that squadron. 

The memoir begins with a statement as to the purpose of colonies, the 
solid advantages of the mother-country and the extension of its commerce. On 
these principles the southern colonies are useful, as they produce commodities 
which, otherwise, France would have to buy from foreigners, and trade with 
them employs many ships and men who consume French products and produce 
revenues to the State. Even Canada is important for its furs, and the home 
consumption and exportation of beaver hats. 

The proposed colony is important for the commerce in cod, one of the 
most important in the kingdom, for it uses much salt, sustains many seamen 
and fishers and their families, pays heavy taxes, and the new establishment would 
place it entirely in the hands of the French. It has, moreover, the advantage 
in extreme healthfulness over those of the West Indies. 

Cape Breton is selected as the seat of the colony, as it has advantages in the 
extent of the commerce which can be carried on with all parts of the world, the 
excellence of its ports, the mildness of its climate and its salubrity, the fertility 
of its soil, and the excellence of its fisheries. 

Then follows a description of the island and its ports, great importance 
being given and a plan attached of Baie des Espagnols (Sydney), which the 
writer thinks the best in the island, not only as a harbour, but from its situation, 
as from it roads could easily be made to all the other principal ports, and thus 
easy intercommunication be given to the settlers. 

1 Arch. Col. B, vol. 37, f. 26, 1/2. 
2 Arch. Col. C n , Air.erijut du A'or</, vol. 8, in which arc also Raudot's Memoirs. 


The land is highly praised on account of the trees it produces elm, maple, 
ash, beech, and birch, the same as Canada, and therefore presumably will produce, 
as Canada does, good crops. Its climate, he points out, will improve as it is 
cleared, as it is the retention of the snows and the shading of the ground by 
the primaeval forest which make Canada so much colder than corresponding 
latitudes in Europe the prevailing view among scientists of the time. 

Then follows a description, which subsequent exploration has materially 
modified, of the possibilities of the country, its timber, tar, pitch, its gypsum 
and marble and other stones, its " porphire qu'on a trouve fort beau a la Cour oh 
feu M. le Marquis de Louvois en fit apporter," its coal and its furs, and, above 
all, its advantageous position for the fisheries, thus dealt with by the writer : 


Elles se renferment toutes dans la seule pesche des molues, il ne s'agit pas icy d'en 
donner le detail ny la description, le Sieur Denis y a satisfait dans son histoire naturelle de 
1'Ame'rique Septentrionale avec toute 1'exactitude qu'on scauroit d&irer, il n'est question 
que de faire voir ainsy qu'on se Test propos qu'on ne retirera jamais tous les avantages des 
pesches qu'en les rendant sddentaires, et que ce n'est que dans 1'Isle du Cap Breton qu'on 
peut executter avec succez une enterprise de cette importance. 

La pesche des molues se fait en deux manieres, 1'une avec des vaisseaux sur les banes 
de terre neuve au large des costes de Canada, 1'autre a terre et sur les bords de la mer, par 
la premiere, on salle dans les vaisseaux les molues comme on les tire de la mer, ce qu'on 
appelle les poissons verds qui n'est autre chose que la molue blanche dont il se fait une si 
grande consommation a Paris ; par la Seconde, on fait se"cher les molues sur les cotes de la 
mer apres les avoir sallies, et c'est ce qu'on appelle le poisson sec ou vulgairement merluche, 
qui se debite par tout le monde et dont on ne fait presqu'aucun usage a Paris, faute d'en 
connoitre le mrite. 

Tous ceux qui ont e"crit des peches se"dentaires, ou qui ont travaille" a les e"tablir jusques 
a present n'ont pens qu'a la pe'che seche, on se propose de faire voir icy qu'on en peut 
faire de mesme de la pesche verte, pourvu qu'on en fixe 1'e'tablissement dans 1'Isle du Cap 
Breton, la preference luy en doit appartenir par le droit de sa situation elle est comme assise 
au milieu des mers les plus poissonneuses, et dans le centre de tous les banes, sur lesquels 
les vaisseaux de France ont accoutum6 de faire la pesche, par consequent Ton y peut faire 
1'une et 1'autre pesche et les rendre 1'une et 1'autre sdentaires dans cette Isle. 

L'exprience en decide, de terns immemorial, les vaisseaux ont fait la pesche seche sur 
les cotes du Cap Breton, le Forillon, 1'Isle plate, 1'Indiane, Niganiche, Achpe" Le Chadie, 
carceaux, le Havre a 1'Anglois et la Balaine qui en dependent, ne sont jamais sans vaisseaux 
en temps de paix ils y font ordinairement leur pesche complette, a moins de quelqu'ac- 
cident, c'est une marque certaine que la morue y est abondante, mais ce n'est pas a dire 
pour cela qu'il n'y en ayt prdcisment que dans ces endroits la quand on les d^signe icy en 
particulier comme des lieux de pesche, c'est que de la maniere que les vaisseaux ont fait la 
pesche jusques a present, ils n'ont pratiqu6 que ces endroits la que parce qu'ils ne trou- 
voient pas a se mettre a 1'abry ailleurs, et que la petitesse de leurs chaloupes de pesche ne 


permettoit pas aux pescheurs dc s'en iloigner beaucoup, pour chercher la molue ailleurs 
ainsi on a par!6 a cet 6gard commc s'il n'y en avoit cu qu'au Forillon, a Niganiche, au 
Havre a 1'anglois, et coetera, et point du tout ailleurs ; mais ce seroit une erreur de le penser 
ainsi, la molue cst aussy abondante par tout le restc dcs costes de 1'Isle que dans ces endroits 
frqucntcz, on en trouve Igalcmcnt partout ailleurs. 

Ainsy des que la pesche sera devcnue sc\lentaire, et qu'elle ne se fera plus que par les 
habitans de 1'Islc, il nc sera plus question dc s'assujcttir aux endroits ou les vaisseaux peuvent 
sculement sc mettre a 1'abry, pendant le temps de la pesche les habitans pouvant pecher 
indirtcremmcnt sur toutes les costes, les couvriront de leurs chaloupes, et feront deux fois 
plus dc poisson que celles de France par ccttc raison, et parce quY-tant sur les lieux ils 
commenccront plustost ct finiront la pesche plus tard, si les chaloupes ordinaires ne leur 
suffisent pas ils auront des barques de toutes grandeurs avec lesquclles ils iront au large sur 
les banes poissonneuses ou ils trouveront toujours a charger ; les vaisseaux de France ne 
peuvent pas faire la mesme chose faute de barques qu'ils ne peuvent pas aporter aussi 
facilement que de petites chaloupcs. 

Et c'cst par le moyen de ces barques que Ton se propose de faire voir icy que la pesche 
vert peut devenir sdentaire aussi bien que la sesche, c'est un fait constant que la plus part 
des vaisseaux de France viennent faire la pesche verte sur le bane a verd, sur le bane de 
Saint Pierre, sur ceux de 1'Isle de Sable ct mcme jusque dans le golfe de Canada. C'est un 
autre fait, encore plus constant, que tous ces banes sont a portee de 1'Isle du Cap Breton et 
qu'elle en est environnde, il seroit done par consequent plus facile aux habitans de 1'Isle qui 
seroient sur les lieux de faire cette pesche avec leurs barques, qu'aux vaisseaux de France 
qui ont huit cent lieues, et de grands frais a faire, et de grands risques a courir pour s'y 
rend re. 

On peut dire de mesme de la pesche verte du grand Bane, les habitans du Cap Breton 
qui n'en seroient qu'a quatre vingt lieues, la pourroient faire avec plus de facilitd que les 
vaisseaux de France qui font sept cent lieues et de grands frais pour s'y rendre, ces vaisseaux 
qui peschent au large et hors de la vue de la terre, sont obligez de sailer la molue telle que 
les pescheurs la tirent de la mer, ils en peschent de quatre sortes, de grandes, de moyennes, 
de petites, et de plus petites qu'ils appellent " Raquet," sur ce pied la lorsqu'ils retournent 
en France, ils emportent de quatre sortes de poissons, qui ont chacun leur prix a la vente, 
outre que c'est un embaras que de concilier ces diffeients prix, il arrive souvent que se 
trouvant plus de petit et de raquet, que de grand et de moyen, celuy des deux premieres 
qualitez ne se vend pas avantageusement. 

II n'en seroit pas de mesme, si la pesche verte 6toit sldentaire, quoy que les habitans 
du Cap Breton fussent obligez de sailer dans leurs barques toutes les molues telles qu'ils les 
tireroient dc la mer, ainsi que les pescheurs de France, ils seroient nanmoins les maitres 
d'en faire le tirage dans leurs barques me'mes, dc n'habiller au verd que le grand et le moyen 
poisson, et de r^server tout I'infcYieur pour mettre au sel, par ce moyen les cargaisons de 
poisson verd seroient uniformes, les ventes en seroient plus faciles et plus avantageuses, et la 
qualit6 du poisson beaucoup meilleure. 

La pesche seche y trouveroit aussi son avantage, comme il n'y a que le moyen et le 
petit poisson qui puisse scher, il arrive souvent qu'on pesche autant de grandes molues que 
de petits, on a regret de jetter les grandes a la mer, on risque de les faire scher, on con- 
somme beaucoup de sel a les sailer, parceque ctant fort epoisses elles pourriroient si on y 


6pargnoit le sel, la moindre pluye, le moindre brouillard y met la corruption et 1'on est 
oblig6 de les jetter apres avoir perdu beaucoup de sel et de terns a les soigner, cela n'ar- 
riveroit plus si la pesche verte 6toit sdentaire, on ne risqueroit plus de faire scher le grand 
poisson, on le salleroit au verd et rien ne seroit perdu. 

On en a un exemple dans la pesche qui se fait a 1'Isle Perce a 1'embrochure du fleuve 
de Saint Laurens, il y vient ordinairement sept ou huit vaisseaux en temps de paix, il y a des 
Basques et des Normands, les Normands ne veullent point de poisson sec, les Basques n'en 
veullent point de verd, ils s'accommodent ensemble, les Normands prennent le grand poisson 
des Basques, et les Basques recoivent des Normands deux petites molues pour une grande, 
ainsi toute le monde est content et cela d^truit en me'me temps 1'opinion de quelques 
particuliers qui pr^tendent que le grand poisson qui se pesche sur les cotes n'est pas aussi 
bon que celuy du grand Bane, si cela estoit, les Normands qui scavent leurs intents et qui 
n'aportent ce poisson verd au havre que pour Paris, ne se chargeroient pas d'une marchandise 
dont ils ne trouveroient pas le dbit, si done les grandes molues de 1'Isle Percee sont bonnes 
a mettre au verd, a plus forte raison celles qui se peschent dans toute le golfe de Canada, sur- 
tout autour des Isles de la Madelaine et de Brion, ou elles sont commun6ment d'une grandeur 
prodigieuse, fort grasse et d'une meilleure qualit. 

En rendant ainsy sedentaire la pesche du poisson verd et celle du poisson sec, il n'y 
aurait plus a 1'avenir que de grandes moliles vertes et par consequent de la meilleure qualit6, 
tout le poisson seroit pareillement de la qualit propre pour les diff<rents pays ou le commerce 
s'en fait, on en feroit le tirage au Cap Breton, 1'on y tiendroit des magazins assortis de chaque 
qualite ou les vaisseaux trouveroient leurs charges de grandes molues vertes pour France, de 
petit poisson sec pour Marseille et pour le Levant, de grand poisson sec pour 1'Espagne et le 
Portugal, et de moyen poisson sec pour le Royaume, au lieu que jusques a present, ces 
vaisseaux ont t obligez de n'emporter que ce qu'ils peschoient, et comme ils le peschoient. 

On jugera par ce detail de l'tendue des productions exteYieures de 1'Isle du Cap Breton, 
quoy qu'elles ne soient que d'une espece, on peut dire sans exageVation qu'on en pourroit 
faire avec le temps un commerce de plus de deux vaisseaux tous les ans, qui tiendroient en 
mouvement tous les peuples de cette Isle, et leur donneroient les moyens de subsister ais6- 
ment de leur travail, joint aux productions de leurs terres, il s'agit a 1'heure qu'il est de 
trouver dans cette grande Isle un endroit capable de recevoir un Etablissement de cette 
importance et dont on en puisse faire le chef lieu, apres quoy on fera voir les avantages que 
le Roy, 1'Etat et le commerce en pourront retirer. . . . 


II y a deux raisons principalles de l'6tablir dans la Baye aux Espagnols. 

Premierement : 
La bont6 de son Port et de ses Rades j 

Secondement : 

Les communications qu'elle a avec tous les autres ports de 1'Isle et meme avec 1'Acadie par 
le Labrador. 

On voit par le plan que le Pilote Jean Albert en a lev en 1692, et par la description 


qu'il en donnc dans son Journal qu'il cst difficile de trouver un endroit plus commode et 
plus avantageux pour le commerce, le Sieur de Montagu, Capitaine de frigate dit dans son 
journal de la mme anne qu'il a sonde toute cette Baye et quc c'est un des plus beaux ports 
qu'on s^auroit voir, la description qu'on en a desja donn^e en marque asses tous les avantages 
pour qu'on puisse convenir quc cet endroit mcVitc la preference de cet Etablissement. 

On peut entrer ct mouillcr dans ses raJes la nuit commc le jour, on en peut sortir de 
memc, on est a couvcrt dans son port des plus mauvais terns et des ennemis, il y a partout 
six, sept, huit ct neuf brasses d'eau dans ses rades, dans son port, et meme jusquc tout aupres 
de terrc, les fonds sont de sable vazcux, il n'y a aucuns roshers qui puissent endomager les 
cAbles ct les anchrcs, les vaisseaux pcuvent charger commode'ment partout, on pourroit batir 
la ville principallc cntre les deux bras qui partagent la Baye a une lieue de son entree ; la 
situation en seroit avantageuse et magnifique, il ne seroit n^cessaire de la fortifier que du 
cost6 dc la terre, on peut a peu de frais la mettre en deffense contre tous les efforts des 
ennemis, on pourroit encore la placer avec les me'mes avantages entre la Riviere aux cerfs 
et le bras gauche de cette Baye, la longue digue qui paroit dans le plan en fait un port tres 
spacicux, tres assure et tres commode, c'est sur quoy il seroit difficile de se determiner sans 
tre sur les licux. 

Cette ville deviendroit en peu de terns considerable et d'une grande etendue, les 
magazins seuls pour recevoir les poissons, les productions du pays, les sels, les appareaux de 
pesche, aussi bien que les marchandises de France, de Quebec et d'ailleurs, occuperoient 
beaucoup de terrain, 1'abord d'un grand nombre de vaisseaux, le mouvement continuel d'une 
infinite de barques et de chaloupes y atireroient beaucoup de marchands et d'artisans, la 
campagne surtout des environs se peupleroit de bourgs et de villages, on cultiveroit la terre 
avec d'autant plus de soin que les grains et les denies y trouveroient un prompt debit par la 
consommation qui s'en feroit dans le lieu meme et par le transport qui s'en feroit au dehors, 
on n'y verroit ny pauvres, ny faineans, on y trouveroit toujours de 1'occupation, jusqu'aux 
femmes et aux enfans qui y seroient employez a lavcr, a tourner, a porter et a pr6parer le 
poisson sur la grave et sur les vignaux, tout le peuple seroit pescheur, ou laboureur, ou artisan, 
les bourgeois et les marchands seroient occupez de leur commerce, les communications que 
cet endroit a d'ailleurs par terre avec les autres ports de 1'Isle et mesme avec 1'Acadie par le 
Labrador, seroient seules un motif de luy donner la preference de 1'Etablissement principal, 
dont il s'agit de faire voir les avantages dans les articles suivans. 


II rend le commerce des pesches certain de casuel qu'il a toujours etd jusques a present. 


II reunit tout ce commerce dans la seule main des Francois a 1'exclusion des Anglois 
qui 1'usurpent depuis longtemps. 


II devient le Boulvard et le magazin des colonies de Canada, de 1'Acadie et de 


II sera 1'entrepost et le refuge des vaisseaux qui reviennent des grandes Indes, des 
Indes Espagnoles, des Isles de I'AmeVique et de tous ceux qui fre'quentent les mers 
de Canada. 

En parlant avec ordre de ces quatre avantages principaux, on en dcouvrira une 
infinite d'autres particulieres qui font d'autant mieux juger du me'rite de cet Etablissement. 

Premier Avantage. 

De la maniere que Ton a fait la pesche du poisson sec jusques a present, on a te" 
oblig6 de faire partir les vaisseaux de France des le mois de Mars, pour arriver aux cotes 
de Canada dans la saison que la moliie commence a s'en aprocher, les mers sont rudes 
et les vents violens dans les mois de Mars et d'Avril a cause de 1'Equinoxe, souvent ils 
sont contraires pour sortir jusques bien avant dans le mois de May, quand ces vaisseaux 
partent trop tard, ils n'ont pas le temps de faire leur pesche quand ils partent ass6s tost, 
ils trouvent des tourments a la mer, ils demdtent, ils perdent une partie de leurs sels 
et de leurs vivres, ils rel&chent, la defense de leur quipement est perdue pour les marchands 
ou pour les assureurs. 

Les vaisseaux qui partent pour le poisson verd, n'ont pas a la veVite" les me"mes risques 
a courir, parce qu'ils peuvent sortir dans la belle saison, mais ils ont a essuyer sur le grand 
Bane les coups de vent les plus violents qui les empeschent de pescher, qui souvent les 
obligent de d^barquer, et quelque fois de rel&cher en France en quelque tat que soit 
leur pesche. 

Suposans les uns et les autres de ces vaisseaux heureusement arrivez au lieu de leur 
destination, si le poisson n'est pas abondant, si les grands vents les empeschent de pescher, 
si les pluyes empeschent de scher le poisson, s'ils perdent leurs chaloupes par quelque 
tempeste, comme il arrive asss souvent, s'ils manquent de vivres, s'ils sont jettez a la 
coste par le mauvais temps ou incommaudez sur le grand Bane, on peut compter que 
dans les uns ou les autres de ces cas, leur pesche est notablement interrompue, si celle 
n'est pas tout a fait perdue. 

En quelque saison que ces vaisseaux partent pour la pesche, ils ont une longue et 
rude traversed a faire avant que d'arriver aux cotes de Canada ou sur le grand Bane, 
personne n'ignore que les vents sont presque toujours contraires pour ces voyages, les 
vaisseaux qui font le poisson sec demeurent pres de quatre mois a la coste et ne mettent 
guere moins de huit mois a tout leur voyage ; ceux qui font le poisson verd ne sont pas 
si longtemps dehors, mais ils sont toujours exposez, ainsi ces voyages qui sont toujours 
longs coutent beaucoup aux marchands, qui souvent sont trop heureux de retirer une 
partie de leurs avances, bien loin d'y trouver du profit. 

On n'obtient que rarement pendant la guerre des Equipages pour la pesche, les 
vaisseaux des particuliers auxquels on en accorde sont en proye aux Corsaires Anglois 
de Boston, aussy bien sur le grand Bane que sur les cotes de Canada, tous les vaisseaux 
pris a 1'Isle Perce, a Bonnaventure, a Gaspd, au Cap Breton et sur le grand Bane pendant 
la derniere guerre, ne le prouve que trop, mais quand le peu de vaisseaux qui sortent pendant 
la guerre pour la pche des moliies reviendroit a bon port, ce poisson estant rare est toujours 


si chcr dans le Royaume, qu'on n'en scauroit trouver la consommation entiere, sans tre 
a charge au public. 

Tous ces inconvc'niens ccsseroit si les pesches devenoient sidentaires, ce commerce 
scroit aussy florissant en temps de guerre que pendant la paix, les marchands n'en feroient [sic] 
plus les avanccs, il n'y auroit presque plus de risques a le faire, les vaisseaux ne partiroient 
plus a 1'equinoxe de Mars, assurcz de trouver a rEtablissement la pesche toute faite par 
les habitans, ils ne mettoient plus a la mer qu'en May, Juin et Juillet dans une saison 
si belle, ils ne risqueroient plus dc perdre leurs sels, leurs vivres, leurs marchandises, ny 
de relacher ; leur navigation seroit heureuse, ils ne prendroient que des Equipages ordinaires, 
et des vivres qu'autant qu'il leur en faudroit pour se rendre a 1'Etablissement, ils ne feroient 
plus la dc-pense d'embarquer les chaloupes ny les autres appareaux de pesche, ils chargeroient 
cnticrcmcnt de marchandises et de choses a la ve>it ncessaires a la pesche, mais ce ne 
seroit plus pour la consommer par eux-mtlmes en faisant la pesche comme autrefois, ce 
seroit un pur commerce, et pour revendre aux marchands de 1'Etablissement qui les 
payeroient en poisson tout fait et en d'autres effets ; ils passeroient en quarante jours de 
France a Pctablissement, ils n'y scjourneroient qu'autant qu'il seroit nccessaire pour 
decharger et recharger, ils repasseroient en France en vingt jours et pourroient faire 
tout le voyage en trois mois, ils pourroient en faire deux par an ; ceux qu'on destineroit 
pour les Isles de 1'AmeVique, pour le Mexique, pour 1'Espagne, le Portugal, la M^diterrance 
ou pour le Levant feroient trois fois leur fret dans la me'me annee de France a 1'Etablisse- 
ment, de la dans les pays Etranges, et des pays Strangers en France, ils prendroient des 
vivres a 1'Etablissement pour leur retour, en quelqu'endroit qu'ils le fissent, ils y trouveroient 
des mats, des vergues, et d'autres pieces s'ils en avoient besoin, ils pourroient mesme s'en 
garnir entierement sans autre depense que de les couper quelque difficult^ qu'il y eust 
d'obtenir des Equipages en este, pendant la guerre ils en auroient au pis aller vers la fin 
d'aoust que les vaisseaux du Roy ont continu de dcsarmer, alors ils partiroient en flotte 
sous 1'escorte de deux ou trois frigates de Sa Majest qui les conduiroient a 1'Etablissement 
et les rameneroient en France, par la le commerce de la pesche ne seroit jamais interrompu, 
parce qu'il sc feroit par les habitans du lieu, qui comptans sur 1'arrivee de la flotte 
prcpareroient le poisson en 1'attendant. Sa Majest en recevroit toujours les droits et 
la molue seroit a bon march dans le Royaume en guerre comme en paix. 

Deuxleme AV ant age. 

La pesche sdentaire que les Anglois ont e"tablis a la coste de 1'Est de 1'Isle de Terre 
Neuve depuis quarante ans est une usurpation formelle de leur part, cette Isle apartient 
sans contredit a Sa Majestc- suivant le partage de I'Amerique Septentrionale entre la 
France et 1'Angleterre, le peu d'attention qu'on a cue pour une affaire de cette consequence 
a donn lieu a la possession que les Anglois en ont prise, il paroit par de bons me'moires 
qu'ils y chargent tous les ans plus de cent vaisseaux de poisson sec. 

La pesche qu'ils font encore avec les barques de la cote de Baston sur celles de 
1'Acadie est une autre usurpation, ils n'en pcuvent pas contester la proprit a la France 
puis qu'ils 1'ont rendue plusieurs fois par des traitez de paix, mais quoy qu'ils n'y trafiquent 
plus avec les habitans, ils ne discontinuent pas pour ccla d'y faire la pesche des moiues qu'ils 
portent scher sur leurs costes, le peu d'oposition qu'ils y trouvent de la part des Franfois 


n'est pas capable de les en empe'cher, ils font encore par cette pesche au moins la charge de 
cent vaisseaux de poisson sec tous les ans. 

Comme les Anglois ne consomment presque point de poisson sec en Europe, ils le 
portent en Espagne, en Portugal et jusques dans le Levant ou ils le vendent en concurrence 
avec les Francois qui devroient estre seuls maitres de ce commerce. 

II n'y a que 1'Etablissement propose qui puisse en donner 1'exclusion aux Anglois, 
s'ils trouvent la cote de 1'Acadie occupe par les Barques et les chaloupes des habitans du 
Cap Breton on peut compter que d'eux-me'mes ils ne s'y pr6senteroient plus, ainsy meme 
en pleine paix, sans recommencer la guerre, sans effusion de sang, sans aucune defense, Sa 
Majeste n'usant que de son droit, peut oster pour jamais aux Anglois un commerce usurp 
qui a forme et qui soutient encore aujourd'huy leur Colonie de Baston, ainsy qu'ils en 
conviennent eux-memes. 

II ne seroit pas si facile de leur oter celuy de la cote de Terre Neuve, comme les 
Anglois en ont pris une espece de possession, il semble qu'on ne pourroit les en chasser 
qu'en terns de guerre, mais pour lors la chose seroit fort ais6, si quelques Canadiens venus de 
Quebec a Plaisance, ou il y a plus de deux cens lieues par mer, ont ruin ces dernieres 
ann^es toute la c6te angloise, fait le dgat de leur sel, bruli leurs chaloupes, et leurs 
maisons, les habitans du Cap Breton qui seroient en bien plus grand nombre, qui auroient 
un interest particulier de d^truire cette cote, et qui n'auroient que trente ou trente-cinq 
lieues de mer a traverser pour se rendre a Plaisance, seroient en 6tat de les harceler si 
souvent qu'ils les forceroient enfin d'abandonner pour jamais un pays sterile qui ne produit 
rien et qu'ils n'occupent que par raport a la pesche qui y est tres abondante. 

Suposant done les Anglois exclus de ces pe'ches, comme cela seroit sans doute lorsque 
1'Etablissement du Cap Breton seroit forme, ce commerce doubleroit chaque anne en 
faveur de la France aussi bien que les droits des fermes de Sa Majeste, la chose parle 

Troisilmt ^vantage. 

Si 1'on considere avec attention la progression des Anglois dans leurs Colonies de la 
Nouvelle Angleterre, on aura lieu de trembler pour celle de Canada, il n'y a point d'annee 
qu'il ne naisse parmy eux autant d'enfans qu'il y a d'hommes dans tout le Canada, en peu 
d'annees ce peuple sera dangereux et redoutable, et le Canada ne sera gueres plus peupie 
qu'il n'est aujourd'huy, soit douceur de climat qui favorise la culture de leurs terres, la 
progression de leurs bestiaux, et qui leur permet de naviguer en tout terns, soit Industrie 
particuliere, il est certain que leurs colonies sont etablies de ce cote-la comme 1'Angleterre 

II est encore terns de preVoir et de preVenir les suites inevitables de cette superiority 
des Anglois, on ne doit pas douter qu'elle ne leur inspire enfin quelque jour, le dessein de 
se rendre maitres du Canada et par la de toute 1'AmeVique septentrionale, quoy que le 
Canada ne paroisse pas fort important a ceux qui ne le connoissent pas a fond, il est certain 
neantmoins que la France perdroit avec ce pays-la le commerce des castors qui ne laisse pas 
d'etre ncessaire et considerable par sa circulation celuy des originaux et des pelleteries qui 
se debitent dans le Royaume et chez les Etrangers et de quelques autres effets qu'on en 
pourroit tirer, mais on doit adjouter a cela qu'il est de la gloire et de la pit du Roy de ne 
pas laisser tomber un si grands pays entre les mains d'une nation heVetique, jealous du 


commerce des Franfois ct qui commenceroit a touffer dans les coeurs dc ses sujets et des 
sauvagcs les scmences de la Religion. 

En perdant le Canada la France perdroit encore les pcsches des moltles, les Anglois 
pour s'en assurer se fortifieroient dans tous les endroits avantageux, ils couvriroient ces mers 
ct le grand Bane de leurs vaisseaux, la navigation en seroit fermc aux Francois, les matelots 
diminueroient de la moitid dans le Royaume, on seroit oblig de racheter la molde des 
Anglois, les Francois perdroient la consommation des sels et des efFets propres a la pesche, et 
Sa Majcstd les droits que luy ajx>rtoit un si grand commerce, le mal seroit trop grand pour 
quc Sa Majest le put soufFrir, et ce ne pourroit tre quc par des defenses prodigieuses et 
par la guerre ouverte qu'on pourroit rentrer dans la possession de ce qu'il est ais de ne pas 
pcrdrc en occupant le Cap Breton. 

Cette Isle cst le clef du Canada et de toutes les cotes de la Nouvelle France, en la 
fortifiant les Anglois ne pourront plus rien entreprendre de ce cot6-la, ils ne s'aviseront 
jamais d'cntrer dans le profondeur du Golfe de Saint Laurens pour monter jusqu'a Quebec, 
pendant qu'ils auront derricre eux un poste de cette importance. 

L'Acadie et Plaisance ne seroient pas moins en surete par cet Etablissement, le nombre 
et la valleur de ses habitans, leur experience au fait de la navigation et des armes dont ils 
fcroient un exercise continue), les mettroient en peu de terns en <hat de tout entreprendre, 
de faire trembler les Anglois jusques dans Baston, et de d&oler toutes leurs cotes en temps 
de guerre. 

Le Cap Breton seroit encore le magasin g6n6ral de tous ces pays, les habitans y 
trouveroient les marchandises, les efFets et leurs secours dont ils auroient besoin en dchange 
des vivres, des denrees et des autres choses qu'ils y apporteroient de Quebec et d'ailleurs. 


Tous les vaisseaux qui reviennent des Isles de 1'Ame'rique, du Mexique, du PeYou, de la 
Mer du Sud et mesme des grandes Indes sont obligez par la disposition des vents de venir 
chercher les hauteurs de Canada, et de passer a la pointe me>idionale du Grand Bane de 
Terre Ncuve pour retourner en Europe ; il arrive assds souvent que la plus part de ces 
vaisseaux manquent ou de vivres ou d'eau, ou de bois, qu'ils sont dmatez, qu'ils ont des 
voyes d'eau ou que leurs Equipages sont malades, il ) a encore pres de sept cens lieues de la 
en France, ou ils ne sont pas en estat de se rendre sans estre . . . 

Tous les vaisseaux pescheurs et ceux qui passent au Cap Breton en allant a Quebec 
s'y refugieront dans la ncessit6 la navigation de Canada tant des plus rudes, surtout en 
revenant de Qud-bec dans 1'arriere saison, les Equipages et les passagers des vaisseaux qui 
auroient le malheur de faire naufrage dans le golfe de Canada pourroient trouver leur 
salut dans cet Etablissement. . . . 

The writer then takes up objections to his project and concludes. 


L'Etablissement propos re"unit toutes les pesches dans la main des Francois, en donne 
1'exclusion absolue aux Anglois, deffend les colonies de Canada, de Terre Neuve et de 1'Acadie 
contre tous leurs efforts, empeschent [sic] qu'ils ne se rendent maitres de tous ces grands pays, 
et par la mesme de toutes les pesches, il ruine leur colonie de Baston en les en excluant et 


sans leur faire la guerre, il est le refuge des vaisseaux incommodez qui fr^quentent ces 
mers, ou pour la pesche ou pour les voyages de Canada, il devient le rendez-vous et 
1'entrepost des vaisseaux des Indes, des Isles de 1'Ame'rique, de la Nouvelle Espagne, il 
augmente le nombre des matelots, il facilite le commerce de Canada et favorise le dbit 
de ses grains et de ses denr^es, il fournira les arceneaux de Sa Majest6 de mits, de vergues, 
de bordages, de planches, de pieces de construction, de bray, de goldrons, d'huiles de 
poisson, de charbon de terre, de platre et mesme de molttes pour les victuailles des Equipages, 
les Strangers qui ont accoutume de fournir tous ces effets n'emporteront plus 1'argent 
du Royaume, il augmente la domination de Sa Majest6, le commerce de ses sujets, les 
droits de ses fermes, et la consommation de sels et des denres du Royaume, e'en est assez 
pour faire voir que cet Etablissement est enfin devenu d'une ncessit6 indispensable, 
et qu'il est terns d'y mettre efficacement la main. 

II ne reste plus qu'a donner dans un mmoire particulier les moyens de former a peu 
de frais un Etablissement de cette importance. A Paris le trentieme Novembre 1706. 


Note. This document, with the exception of some changes in punctuation, and the 
correction of a few mistakes obviously those of a copyist, is printed verbatim. The 
soundness of its views as to the importance of Cape Breton, the stability of New England, 
the previsions of danger to French rule from its people, merit the attention of the reader. 


THE declaration of the taking possession of Isle Royale stated that the selection 
of Louisbourg was provisional. The reports made and the plans submitted in 
person by St. Ovide to the King secured his approval, which was transmitted to 
L'Hermitte, with orders to place the fort on the point and the town behind it. 
This led to complaints from the latter that his plans had been modified and his 
views inaccurately stated by St. Ovide. 

These instructions were definite ; but a discussion arose at once as to which 
should be made the principal place of the three settlements which were thought 
of. These were Louisbourg, Port Dauphin, and Port Toulouse. Each of them 
had many advantages, which were dealt with in many letters and memorials. 
Costebelle wrote to the Minister expressing his opinion, that great attention 
should be given to Port Toulouse, without claiming that it should be the seat of 
government, and asked a hearing for Meschin, Commander of the Semslack y 
who had revisited Louisbourg. When Meschin sought an audience with 
Pontchartrain he was sent on by him to Raudot the younger, who had been 
promoted from Quebec to the position of Intendant des Classes (Service Rolls). 
The Minister wrote to the latter that he would discuss the matter with him after 
his interview with Meschin. 

Other letters also were sent to Pontchartrain. Rouville and La Ronde, in 
thanking him for their appointments on this pioneer expedition, gave their views 
on the three ports. The latter was enthusiastic over Port Dauphin, where they 
could do more work for ten thousand livres than for two hundred thousand in 
Louisbourg. Trees twenty-eight to thirty-eight inches in diameter and seventy 
feet long abound ; there is an abundance of oak, and not an inch of ground which 
is not fit to cultivate. He concluded by saying that New England is not worth 
one-tenth part of Cape Breton, but that he has seen with his own eyes how 
flourishing is the British colony, where every year they build fifteen hundred 
vessels. 1 

Costebelle repeated his first impression that they were working uselessly at 

1 These are exaggerations which go far to justify L'Hcrmitte's opinion of La Ronde. See note, p. 16. 



Louisbourg, and that Vaudreuil, St. Ovide, and Soubras agreed with him, if their 
thoughts corresponded to their language. L'Hermitte tried to confine his 
expression to a statement of the advantages of the different places, but in sending 
his requisitions for material and men he added an estimate that it would take 
eight to ten years to build the forts at Louisbourg at a cost, even without the 
artillery, of eight or nine hundred thousand livres. 

Bourdon, an experienced officer, whose map of Cape Breton was being used, 
was sent out with de Saugeon, the officer in command of the Affriquain^ who 
was unfamiliar with these waters. Bourdon, too, submitted a memoir on this 
vexed and important question. 1 The advantages of Louisbourg, in his summing 
up the various views, were the ease of access, the excellent fishing close at hand, 
and, while the beaches were less in extent than at Port Dauphin, this was 
compensated for by the excellent sites found at various adjacent outports. The 
Port Dauphin beaches were less useful, as they were shut in by the high hills, 
the name of which has descended from the romance of Les Quatres Fils d'Aymon 
to Smith's Mountain. Port Dauphin was more easily fortified, the land was 
fertile, but the fishing grounds were several leagues from the port, and therefore 
required larger boats. Port Toulouse was not then seriously considered, nor does 
the name of Baie des Espagnols often appear, notwithstanding the anonymous 
memoir of 1706. Its wide entrance would be difficult to fortify, and it was 
^istant from the fishing grounds. Louisbourg, moreover, had the advantage of 
not freezing over, and of being Jess incommoded by the drift ice in the spring, 
although this was not dwelt on and was perhaps unknown to the pioneers. 
Bourdon points out in his memoir that the fisheries are the sole object of care, 
that the only grain they need to grow is for poultry and fodder, as their 
requirements of wheat would make a commerce with Canada. He thus disposes 
of the agricultural superiority of Port Dauphin, enforcing this view by the fact 
that the Acadians would not go there, as they were seeking for meadows. He 
also takes up various questions as to the forts ; says that L'Hermitte's are too 
costly, and proposes in their stead two fortifications, one on the island and one 
on the point, which, giving protection against a sudden attack, would, as peace 
is likely to last, be all that is required. He concludes that, for ease of living, 
every one would prefer Port Dauphin, but, for public interest, Louisbourg is 
comparably better. The weight 'of local authority was against him. It was 
supported by the merchants of France, while the Court was dismayed at the 
amount of money which Louisbourg would require. 

Instructions were sent out -to Costebelle and Soubras that Port Dauphin 
should be made the principal place ; that they, the staff, and the larger part of 
the garrison, four companies, should be established in that place ; that St. Ovide 

1 C 11 I.R. vol. i, p. in. 


should command at Louisbourg with two companies, and De Pensens, aide- 
major, should go to Port Toulouse. These instructions arrived in due course, 
hut Costebelle, advised by a private letter of the decisions before they came to 
hand, had already taken action. In June he sent L'Hermitte to lay out 
the work at Port Dauphin. Rouville also went there, and again merited the 
praises of his superiors, by doing with his sixty men effective work in building 
a storehouse, bakehouse, and forge. In September they were engaged on the 
barracks, which were substantial, as it was proposed that they should serve 
afterwards as an hospital, and Costebelle, who was on the ground, hoped that 
these would be finished before winter. 

Port Toulouse, preferred by the Acadians, was allotted a garrison of forty 
men under De Pensens, and a small fort for the purpose of giving confidence to 
the new settlers was laid out by Couagne. The value of this place had been 
considered small on account of the shallow entrance of its harbour, but 
soundings proved that there were three channels with deep water two of 
four and a half, and one of three fathoms. Meschin and his pilot went with 
Costebelle from Port Dauphin to Port Toulouse, by the Bras d'Or Lakes, and 
confirmed the information. The channels were crooked, but could be made 
safe by buoys, which in time of war could be removed, making the harbour 
"easy to friends, inaccessible to enemies." 

Louisbourg was so neglected that Soubras urged Costebelle to send to 
Port Toulouse, St. Ovide and most of the Louisbourg garrison, as no work 
could be done at the latter place during the winter. L'Hermitte's part of this 
work was tentative, for he had been superseded by Beaucour, who arrived in the 
autumn, and he had experienced the bitterness of receiving the Minister's 
strictures on his slowness before the letters arrived promoting him to the post of 
Major at Three Rivers. Thereafter in the more settled conditions of Canada 
he did good work, until, returning from France on the Chameau in 1725, his 
long career in the public service ended in her shipwreck a few miles from 

The Acadian situation was not easy ; although Vaudreuil, Costebelle, and 
Soubras had signed a memoir begging the Court to do the impossible by sending 
a vessel, nothing more was accomplished than sending some of the gear for their 
boats. 1 Part of it was delivered, but very few of them had come to Isle Royale. 
Early in the year 1715 news came to Louisbourg that Nicholson had in the 
autumn told the Acadians that those of them who intended leaving must go at 
once and not wait until the spring. The King instructed the French 
ambassador to ask permission to send a ship for them, and the request having 
been made, time was being lost in waiting for a reply, and the action of the 

1 Vol. I, 107, October 16, 1^14. 


French Government was thus hampered. The solution was left to the local 
authorities ; they were to avail themselves of any of the three vessels which had to 
come out the Semslack, the Affriquain, or the Mutine and send one of them 
for the Acadians. 

Father Dominique de la Marche, who was Grand Vicar of the Bishop of 
Quebec, had been sent on a mission to the Acadians at Port Toulouse, where he 
met representatives of prosperous families of Minas who were there, the results 
of which he stated in a letter, September 7. In it he recounts the position 
and fidelity of the Acadians, and states that promises solemnly made through 
the missionaries as well as the envoys, La Ronde and Pensens, had not been 
kept, and urges that a vessel should be sent, as he fears further delay. 
Although Costebelle was absent at Port Dauphin, a council was held the same 
day, at which Soubras, St. Ovide, Villejouin, Renon, Ste. Marie, de la Perelle, 
officers of the garrison, met the missionary. They decided that they must have 
some pretext for sending a vessel, either the disavowal of the Indian hostilities 
against the English or replacing a missionary. They decided that de Pensens, 
a favourite with the Acadians, and de la Perelle, who spoke English, should go 
on the Mutine (Captain de Courcey), which should be provisioned for bringing 
back the Acadians ; but that if they could not make them come, or if opposition 
was offered, they should return. The Mutine started on the voyage, but, meeting 
heavy weather and contrary winds, returned to Louisbourg without having 
reached Annapolis. 

In August of the following year (1716) de la Marche left Port Dauphin, where 
he was established, and visited Acadia, returning in September. He says that 
the Acadians were not to blame for not coming, and acknowledges that they 
were no longer in the mood to come, while Costebelle had made up his mind 
that they would remain where they were. The authorities wrote to the Minister 
that the Acadians were to take an oath that the Anglican Church was the only 
true one, that the Virgin was a woman like any other, that the Pretender was a 
bastard, and that they would be faithful to the new King ; but this fable, possibly 
because it was a fable, moved neither the Acadians to leave nor the Ministry to 
come to their aid. 1 

These are the first of many incidents which mark the care of the French 
officials to avoid giving offence to the English. Their attitude was defensive ; 
the instructions sent out to them were to avoid quarrels and not to resent 
aggressions. The only firm note in many years is La Ronde's letter to 
Nicholson, in which he states that the King intends to maintain the rights 
accorded to the Acadians by Queen Anne, the outcome of his preference for the 

1 " Contenant que la religion Anglicanne est la seule veritable, que la" Ste. Vierge est une femme comme une autre, 
<jue le Pretendu Prince de Galles est batard, et qu'ils promettent fidelite" au nouveau Roy " (C 11 I.R. 2, p. 90). 


grand manner rather than of the instructions given to him. The garrison of 
Annapolis, weaker than that of Louisbourg, was powerless to prevent the 
Acadians removing. They were entitled to leave ; the question of time had 
not been settled, and, had the policy of France been aggressive or a pacific one 
administered by strong men, the sending of ships for the Acadians could have 
been defended as entirely justifiable. But when we take up later in this chapter 
the conditions in France, the causes of many things which happened in Louis- 
bourg will be made clear. 

The efforts of the French to prevent the Indians of Acadia from ac- 
knowledging the sovereignty of England had been successful, and they had 
largely moved to Antigonish, nearer Isle Royale, without making any settlement. 
The relations of the New Englanders with the Indians of Acadia had not been 
friendly. The fishermen who frequented the adjacent fishing-grounds could not 
dry their catch on shore, as they were driven off by the savages, although solitary 
Frenchmen lived among them and traded with the English vessels. The Indian 
hostility was bitter. The Micmacs, finding two dead bodies of their young 
men, jumped to the conclusion that they had been killed by the English, and 
in revenge pillaged nine or ten vessels. A vessel of twelve or fourteen guns 
which was cast away in St. George's Bay was taken and the crew ill-treated, in 
spite of the efforts of Father Gaulin to protect them. The cause of this outbreak 
was their belief that all their tribe at Minas was dying of poison administered by 
the English. A similar case occurred at Beaubassin, and again the crew were 
protected by Father Felix. Costebelle, referring to these and similar incidents, 
informed the Minister that pillaging was going on which they tried to prevent. 
Capon, storekeeper at Annapolis, was sent to Louisbourg in 1715 to complain 
of the action of the allies of the French. An account of this mission is found 
in Meschin's answer to a charge of wasting His Majesty's stores, brought against 
him by the purser of his own ship, who reported that, being a godfather at 
Louisbourg, he had fired a salute of one hundred guns and wasted powder to 
the value of 1600 livres. Meschin said in reply that he had proved to the 
Commandant and Intendant of Rochefort, where the charge was made, that this 
was untrue. The facts were that Sieur Capon, Commissary-General, had come 
from Acadia to Isle Royale representing General Neilson (Nicholson) to ask for 
justice from the Indians, our allies, who had captured some English vessels in 
the Strait of Canso and pillaged their crews. On which matter, the heads of the 
Colony not being able otherwise to satisfy the envoy, we had tried to content 
him with many civilities and feasting (" De le contenter par beaucoup 
de caresses et de bonne chere "). Meschin contributed to this end by a 
dinner on board the Scmslack, given the third day of Capon's stay, to which he 
invited the Governor, Soubras, other officers, and the principal inhabitants to 


the number of forty-five. Monsieur Capon desired to drink the health of King 
Louis, and Meschin felt bound, as a loyal servant, to fire a salute of nine guns ; 
courtesy demanded an equal number when they drank to King George, then 
five were fired for the Admiral of France, and an uncertain number for the 
principal French and English general officers. The hospitable officer was 
forgiven for having only a general knowledge that the number of guns was less 
than one hundred. The Navy Board did not make him pay for these feux 
de joie} 

The guests of Meschin gathered from miserable quarters. The houses in 
which they lodged, grouped about the larger dwelling of the Governor, were 
built of pickets upright in the ground, a meaner type of construction than 
a log hut. On the other side of the little stream was a temporary battery 
of twelve guns, and the remainder of the cannon lay on the beach immediately 
below the Governor's house. 2 The merchants who were bidden came for 
the most part from the other side of the arm, where they had already established 
their simple dwellings adjacent to the beaches, where their fish were cured, 
and the site selected for the fortifications. We have some idea of the military 
officers who gathered on this occasion, for Costebelle, in a long letter to the 
Minister treating of various subjects, gives a description of himself and his 
associates. 3 He himself is fifty-four, his passions weakened by years, but his 
zeal great. He works from daylight till noon ; at dinner they sit long and 
make decently merry. This is borne out by Soubras, who says that, although 
Costebelle is despotic, his sociable humour contributes to keep the peace between 
them. Besides the difficulties of his office, Costebelle is overwhelmed by private 
debts, and is anxious to get to France to find means to extricate himself. St. 
Ovide, he says, is devout, and has all the talents of a man of the sword and of 
a writer, but he exaggerates. Beaucour has talents, and will find plenty of room 
for their exercise. Ligondez is a good officer, is never too slow, sometimes too 
lively. La Ronde Denys is also good, independent, energetic, fine, but will be 
better when age has modified his temperament and he is free from the influence 
of doubtful relations. Villejouin is good. Rouville, a phcenix for labours. 
Ste. Marie, Costebelle's brother-in-law, a Proven9al, is inclined to be close. 

1 Ar. Nat. Marine, C, 7, 206. 2 Young's Map. 

3 " Pour luy deffiner le cours de ma vie presante il est temps que je luy dire que j'ai atteint 1'aage de 54 ans, oil les 
passions vives et turbulentes s'affbiblessent d'elle meme, il n'y a que celles de mon devoir que se soient fortfie et je n'ay 
jamais eu tant d'occasion de faire briller mon zelle par la situation oil toutes choses se trouvent aujourd'hui, pour d'accuser 
juste a votre grandeur je lui diray que je suis vigilant a toutte sorte d'heure de point de jour jusque a midy m'occupe le 
plus, apres quoy je reste assa longtemps a table avec 1'elitte des officiers mais il se commet rien dans nos plus riantes 
societies qui tiennent de la Crapule, ni que derrange les fonctions militaires, non plus que les travaux projettes que mes 
orders ont precedes, nostre honneste gallanterie ne scandalise personne et s'il y a quelque libertinage outre dans le commun 
du peuple, il n'est tolerd qu'autant qu'il m'est inconu. 

"Monsieur de St. Ovide me ressamble assais avec 15 ans de moins, il prie dieu un peu plus longtemps sans adorer 
plus humblemant que moy sa divine providence " (C 11 I.R. vol. i, p 


Kenon also is good, and all the junior officers satisfactory, especially Couagne, 
who deserves promotion. These descriptions testify to his amiability, but 
they have to be modified from other sources. Ligondez the Major says : 
" Rouville's is the only company looked after, that the other Captains think it 
beneath their dignity to care for their men, and that Villejouin is lazy." Ste. 
Marie was ordered under arrest by the Minister for allowing a girl to escape 
from the primitive hut which served as the town prison, and severe reproofs 
were administered to Villejouin. 

Costebelle was overwhelmed by the condition in which they found them- 
selves in the autumn. It was against both discipline and effective work. The 
SemsLick and the Mutine had come out, the former with 5000 livres in money 
and a few stores, costing an equal amount, which were spoiled on the voyage, 
to meet 180,000 livres unpaid for 1714, and 450,000 livres allotted to the 
expenses of this year. The arrival of the Affriquain, which had their supplies, 
was expected with more and more eagerness, until, when her arrival became 
doubtful, famine seemed imminent. The provisioning of the outports was put 
off as late as possible, but as well as they could they worked on. The principal 
officers and troops were moved to Port Dauphin. The guns brought from 
Placentia, both English and French, were tested by the Aide-Artillerie of the 
garrison and the master gunner of the Semslack, and the greater part allotted to 
Port Dauphin, although only eighteen were taken there in this season. 1 

Civil government went on also. Soubras, new to the colonies, made 
ordinances regulating the beaches, hospital dues, the prices of fish and the 
rates of wages, and the entries and clearances of vessels. These provoked 
remonstrances from the outfitting merchants in France as well as the inhabitants 
of the town. They also disturbed the Acadians, who, from what a writer calls 
the republican state in which they had lived, found all regulations irksome. 
Neither effective work could be done nor good morals preserved with the 
prospect of famine before the people and the officers. Costebelle had hoped to 
have the barracks at Port Dauphin finished by the winter, but in the late autumn 
Soubras found that nothing had been done for three months, as the soldiers, 
even under de Rouville, the most capable of all the officers, had been building 

1 Port Dauphin, Louitbsurg. 

6 of 36 Ibs. 3 of 36 Ibf. 

2 4 4 24 

9 18 

5 12 

8 8 

14 6 

50 guns 43 guns 

26 mortars. i mortar. 

Not only the number but the calibre of the gum sent to Port Dauphin were greatly superior. 


themselves huts in the woods. The scarcity of provisions was increased by the 
necessity of supplying the Semslack for her voyage back to France. At the end 
of the season the authorities, after sending back all the sick and young soldiers, 
two hundred and twenty in all, about half the garrison, took from the merchants 
of the town, the ships in the harbour, and even from private houses the pro- 
visions they could find. Laforest, the clerk who was charged with this duty, 
says he made many enemies by undertaking this odious task. Costebelle does 
not hesitate to write to the Minister that the Government plunders those whom 
it should protect. The condition at Louisbourg, as the declining, although the 
most populous place, was worst. Its inhabitants were in consternation, and had 
represented to Costebelle and Soubras that their port was the only one ; the 
captains of the French vessels also confirmed this view, and held that Louisbourg 
must be re-established. If, instead of drawing the good men from all the 
companies for Port Dauphin, St. Ovide had been given a few workmen and 
the two companies allotted to that place, he could have made it tenable ; as it 
was he had three captains, one lieutenant, two ensigns, three corporals, seventeen 
soldiers, five workmen, and one sick carpenter. 

The fishing had been good on the whole, especially at Port Toulouse and 
Port Dauphin. Sixty-four vessels had come out from France, which had three 
hundred and eight boats in all. The prediction that the vicissitudes of 1715 
would tell on the industry the following year was justified by the results, for in 

1716 only twenty vessels came from France. The situation was so bad that St. 
Ovide wrote that he feared that the pirates who infested these waters, knowing 
the unprotected condition of the town, might attack it after the King's ships had 
left. Soubras said the colony by a single repetition of this state of affairs would 
be ruined, that the officers were as badly off as the privates, and Laperelle was 
sent to Court to represent personally their desperate position. 

It is difficult to read the documents from which this narrative has been 
compiled and not to believe that the wretched state of Isle Royale was owing to 
incompetence and neglect on the part of the home administration. It is equally 
difficult to read the accounts of France in the previous score of years, while the 
kingly sun of the great Louis was descending behind the clouds, all of which tell 
of hideous poverty, of a stagnant commerce, of an almost naked peasantry 
suffering from severe winters, from plague and pestilence, of governmental 
interference which aggravated the miseries of the people, and not to wonder how 
the ordinary expenses were provided for, how pensions could be allotted or 
-gratuities given to deserving officers, or a new establishment like Louisbourg 
carried on. 

The exhaustion not only of the public treasury but of public credit was com- 
plete in the last year of Louis XIV.'s reign. The Navy Board met and made their 


arrangements for the season's work. The King had approved the appropriation of 
410,000 1. for Isle Royale, a trifle of 10,000 1. had been asked for the Acadians, 
but Demarets, the Treasurer, had not sent it. Pontchartrain put himself on 
record as to the importance of Isle Royale, in a passage which has been quoted. 
No reply was received to this letter. He asks for these funds in March, as the 
needs are most urgent and the time is short. At the end of the month he 
takes up the question of overdue bills of exchange for Canada. He brings 
pressure to bear on the Treasurer, through Monsieur de Nointel, to whom he 
suggests a lottery, or a tax on lotteries. Meantime, the usual administrative 
details are being carried on for the officering and provisioning of the ships and 
providing the cargoes. 

Funds for the navy were so low in these years that it was found impossible to equip a 
frigate and buy supplies without borrowing fifty to sixty thousand livres from private 
sources. (Pontchartrain to Desmarets, April 21, 1713, M. St. M. vol. 50.) 

Lettre de M. des Maretz, ministre des finances, a M. le Comte de Pontchartrain 
(Versailles, 31 decembre 1/13), extrait : 

" A 1'Egard des fonds que vous demandez pour 1'Evacuation de Plaisance, et 
I'Establissem 1 de 1'Isle Royale, Je prendray incessamment les ordres du Roy pour destiner 
a cette ddpense ceux que sa Majest6 jugera apropos sur les premiers deniers qui pouront 
estre meViagez. . . ." (Arch. Nat. Marine, 63, 216.) 

Three weeks later he writes again, expressing surprise and pleasure that one 
of his Intendants had found means to pay the men who had been working on the 
ships for Isle Royale, and by the middle of May insists that the money be found ; 
otherwise, that colony will fail and England will be mistress of the cod fisheries. 
He is disquieted by the news from the outfitting port of Rochefort, where the 
long unpaid men refused to work on these ships. Later in the month the 
Intendant Montholon writes him that merchants will not supply goods without 
prompt payment. Early in June the Sems/ack is sent off to show the troops 
and settlers that the King has not forgotten them, but the evil conditions 
continue. Other merchants will not sell, even with special assurance of payment ; 
other workmen refuse to continue in the King's dockyards ; seamen engaged for 
the voyages of these ships have deserted ; there was no money to be found. His 
proposal, made in March, to establish a new lottery for the benefit of the colony, 
or to impose a tax, for the same purpose, of 3 per cent on existing lotteries, was 
not accepted, and the end came on the 2ist of August 1715, three days before 
the illness of the King began, when the Minister sent orders to the Intendant of 
La Rochelle to have the Affriquain dismantled, as it was too late to send her 
to Isle Royale. Compared with the early years of other settlements, Annapolis, 
for example, Isle Royale was not badly off; compared with great monarchies, 


few of those which have survived ever found themselves more exhausted than 
was France at this time. 

On September i, 1715, Louis XIV. died. It is not a necessary part of 
this narrative to recount the disposition he made for the Regency during the 
minority of his great-grandson. Parliament was summoned at once ; Orleans 
triumphed over the legitimized princes and the will of the King, and was made 
Regent with the power to nominate the Council of the Regency, to whose hands 
was committed the conduct of affairs. The dissoluteness of Philip Duke of 
Orleans, the extravagance, the gracefulness of the art of his epoch, Law's 
marvellous achievements, his stupendous breakdown, are the things which stand 
out in the popular conception of the Regent's history. They are just elements 
in that conception, but it is equally true that the Regent is perhaps the most 
conspicuous instance of modern times of one in a splendid position whose moral 
corruption made impotent, except for evil, a great capacity for affairs. 

France saw with relief the ending of the epoch of Louis XIV. Her people 
gladly welcomed the declaration of the Regent that he intended to follow the 
plans of the Duke of Burgundy, that upright and intelligent grandson of the 
late King, the docile pupil of Fenelon, whose advent to the throne, until his 
premature death, had been regarded as the promise of better things. Louis 
XIV.'s boast that " L'Etat c'est moi " had been as nearly realized as possible, but 
it had worked out, in the view of the Regent's supporters, into there being in 
administrative affairs an absolute ruler in each department into which the 
business of the State was divided. The remedy proposed for this was the 
institution of Councils. The " Seven Councils " proposed by the Duke of 
Burgundy were established by the Regent. They gave a great subdivision of 
labour, and a firmer grasp of administration than under the previous system. In 
the division of affairs under Louis XV. a more logical view was taken by the 
recognition of the internal affairs of the kingdom as worthy a department, and 
by the institution, as an afterthought, of a Conseil de Commerce. One historian of 
the Regency speaks disparagingly of the composition of the Councils, but La Cour- 
Gayet, 1 the historian of the French Navy in the reign of Louis XV., who begins 
a chapter, " Banqueroute financiere, banqueroute morale, banqueroute politique, 
c'est sous les auspices de cette triple faillite nationale que s'ouvrit le regne de 
I'arriere petit-fils de Louis le Grand," and therefore may fairly be assumed to 
have no predisposition to apologise for the acts of the Regent, says of the Navy 
Board that it would have been difficult to find eleven better names than those 
the Regent selected. His only criticism is that Duguay-Trouin was not a 

At the head of the Council was the Comte de Toulouse, one of the 

1 La Cour-Gayet, La Marine militaire de la France sous Louis XV, Paris, 1902. 


legitimized sons of the King, Admiral of France, owing his place to his origin, 
but who, nevertheless, had distinguished himself in command of the French 
fleet in battle with those of England and Holland at Velez Malaga. D'Estrees 
was President, and he too had shared in the same battle. St. Simon praises 
him as honourable, upright, and understanding the Navy. Tesse, Coe"tlogon, 
d'Asfeild, and Champigny were officers of merit and brilliant services. Renau 
was a naval engineer of resource whose invention of the bomb ketch marked 
a distinct advance in naval warfare, De Vauvr6 an Intendant of the Navy 
of more than excellent reputation, Ferraud a lawyer. Bonrepaus, a collaborator 
of Colbert and predecessor of Raudot as Intendant des Classes, had always 
had a reputation as an unequalled administrator. Pontchartrain was dismissed, 
although to secure this result his position was promised to his son Maurepas, 
then a boy of fifteen. A more systematic way of carrying on the affairs of 
the department was instituted. The regulation for the colonial correspondence 
was business-like. Instructions were sent out that each letter should deal with 
one matter only ; l subordinate officers were to be no longer permitted to write 
to the Council as they had to the Minister ; military officers would report to 
the Governor, civil officers to the Intendant or Commissaire-Ordonnateur, on 
their private affairs ; officials could write to members of the Board, but should 
address it only if they were giving information of malversation. 

The documents concerning Isle Royale bear out the views of La Cour-Gayet. 
Careful agenda for the meetings of the Board were now prepared, business 
was disposed of promptly, although precedent seemed slavishly followed, 
marginal notes indicated the reference of many questions to the best-informed 
officials, such as Raudot and Verville, when he was in France, and all items 
of importance were brought to the personal notice of the Regent, who gave 
immediate decisions. Whatever may have been his vices, or the soundness 
of his views, he attended to the business of Isle Royale. 

1 This was ignored at Louisbourg. 


THE Navy Board took up the direction of affairs with vigour, although they 
were seriously cramped by the lack of funds ; for the hope of better things, 
which the Regent's government inspired, had relieved, only to the slightest 
degree, the scarcity of money. At the earliest possible time, letters were 
written to the officials saying that provisions would be sent them from one 
of the southern ports early in the spring, and that the deplorable conditions 
of the winter of 1715 would not be permitted to occur again. This promise was 
kept, for the first merchant ships arrived on the loth of April 1716, and in May 
the first provisions sent out had been received. The sufferings of the winter 
had not been extreme, although conditions must have been far from comfortable. 
At Port Toulouse they were almost without bread, many of their cattle had 
died from lack of fodder, and two shipwrecks on Isle Madame had added 
to the miseries of their situation. To relieve the distress of the inhabitants 
at Louisbourg, St. Ovide had to supply them from the stores of the garrison. 
On the other hand, the supply of intoxicants being reduced to a minimum, 
the garrison was never in better health. 

The change of administration at home leads naturally to an account of the 
objects which were sought in the settlement of Isle Royale, the conditions there 
which affected the attainment of the end aimed at, and the administrative 
machinery which the Navy Board employed. The narrative of what took 
place at Louisbourg will show the degree of success its administration attained, 
as well as the effectiveness of the methods the Board employed. The object 
was to establish at Isle Royale a flourishing settlement based on its principal 
industry, the fisheries, and the development of the other resources of the 
Island, and an entrepot at which the commerce based on these industries 
might be carried on with France, the West Indies, and Canada. The first 
encouragement given to this trade before the Board took charge was the 
remission of the duties on coal coming from Isle Royale (January 29, 1715). 
A year later fish and fish oils were also allowed free importation into France, 
and at a later date again, duties on products of the French West Indies, coming 




by way of Louisbourg, were also removed. The exemptions were each for 
a term of ten years, but in each case they were, as the time elapsed, renewed. 1 

The sustenance of several hundred people on an island which produced at 
the time no food for man except its abundant fish and game, was the object of 
vital importance. Supplies were to be drawn from France and Canada, which 
was entirely in accordance with the economic policy of the time ; also from 
Acadia. This trade was on the border-land of the permitted, for although it 
was a British colony, the fact that its inhabitants were French, who, it was hoped, 
would remove to Isle Royale, made it politic to encourage this intercourse. On 
account, however, of the higher state to which agriculture had been developed 
in New England, and the keenness for profitable trade of its inhabitants, it was 
not only the surest, but the cheapest source of supply for the nourishment of 
these French settlers. 

The advantages of this commerce, foreseen by Raudot, were felt by Coste- 
belle, who wrote proposing that, as far as concerned the products of those 
colonies, it should be permitted to Isle Royale. The Board, being advised that 
French merchants would cease to send their vessels to Isle Royale if his view 
was accepted, decided, instead, to make more stringent rules against all com- 
mercial intercourse with foreigners. 

The cost of food stuffs from France was very high, the supply in Canada 
was uncertain, from both the voyage was difficult, and the cost of transportation 
therefore high ; intercourse with Acadia was dependent on the inaction of its 
English administration, who complained at a later date that there was often 
scarcity in Annapolis when Louisbourg was abundantly supplied. The local 
officials therefore found themselves hampered by the prohibition of commercial 
intercourse with its most advantageous source of supply. 

The administration of the Colony was nominally part of the government of 
New France, but the affairs of Isle Royale were directed from the Cabinet of 
the Minister, and the Governor and Intendant of Canada were advised about the 
affairs of Isle Royale only in as far as the business of the two colonies was 
concerned. The connection was kept alive, however, in the phraseology of 
Royal documents which were addressed to the authorities of New France as well 
as those of Isle Royale, although the subject-matter concerned the latter 
colony alone. 

The chief official of the Colony was the Governor, and next to him in rank 
was, in Isle Royale, the Commissaire-Ordonnateur discharging the functions 
which, in more important colonies, as Canada, in the provinces of France, and in 
quasi-dependent states such as Lorraine during the reign there of Stanislas of 
Poland, were those of the Intendant. 

1 Morcau St. Mery, vol. 50, pp. 27, 43, 54, 576. 


All military matters except the commissariat were under the exclusive 
control of the Governor, as well as the disposition of any vessels, which, however, 
he was obliged to supply to the Commissaire-Ordonnateur. Grants of lands and 
the maintenance of order were common to both, while the administration of 
justice, the supervision of the hospital, the care of the King's stores, and the 
providing of supplies belonged exclusively to the Commissaire-Ordonnateur. 
The Governor represented the military, the Commissaire-Ordonnateur the civil 
element. There was natural antagonism between the two, and every letter of 
joint instructions from the Minister inculcated the necessity of harmony. But 
the distinction between their departments was not easy to draw, and constant 
friction resulted, although the home administration did all that it could to 
minimize its causes. Their seats in church, the order in which the sacrament 
should be administered, their places in processions were regulated. While the 
easy-going Costebelle had no trouble with Soubras, St. Ovide constantly quarrelled 
with the three Commissaire-Ordonnateurs who served with him. They quarrelled 
about precedence, about the realities of business, about its formalities, and while 
probably no staff of a government or corporation is free from jealousy or rivalry, 
these motives are not allowed, under a strong administration, to interfere with 
efficiency. The conditions at Louisbourg, however, were so bad that, as an 
instance, the Council writes that the Governor and the Commissaire-Ordonnateur 
seem to agree only in one thing, that being to hamper the engineer in the work 
of building the fortifications. Their disagreements reached, in the same year, 
such a point that St. Ovide, the Governor, and de Mezy, who had replaced 
Soubras, were informed that if they could not agree, remedies would be proposed 
to the Regent which would be disagreeable to them both. 1 Even so sharp a 
threat as this did not make things go smoothly for long. But it would be unfair 
to come to the conclusion that the officials of Isle Royale were entirely occupied 
in such rivalries. Each in his own department was desirous of doing well, or 
at least of standing well with the Minister. Each was jealous of the dignity 
of his office, and feared to secure an immediate benefit to the common weal 
by making concessions which might diminish the prestige of the position 
he occupied. 

Verville and Verrier, the engineers of the fortifications, Isabeau and Ganet, 
the contractors who built them, saw only the necessity of hastening on this work 
to which they were urged by the home Government. They complained of St. 
Ovide, who, as military head, was bound to protect the interest of the captains 
whose soldiers worked for the contractors. The Commissaire-Ordonnateur, 
equally with the Governor, did not care for this work, being in great part inde- 
pendent of them, and the latter having to submit to the outlay for the fortifications 

1 B, vol. 42, f. 480 and 490, July 9, Sept. 20, 1720. 


being kept separate from the current accounts of the establishment. Zeal is not 
as likely to produce such friction as slackness, but in an isolated community, 
without a supreme head, so distant that it took months to get a decision from 
the highest authority, public interest suffered even from the unharmonized zeal 
of the officials. 

The ordinary course of business was that the Commissaire-Ordonnateur and 
the Governor wrote joint letters to the Board, and that each addressed it 
separately, on subjects exclusively in his control ; and that in reply the Board, 
and afterwards the Minister, wrote in the same way. Sometimes it happened 
that the Commissaire-Ordonnateur, in another letter, withdrew statements which 
he had signed in the joint letter in the interests of harmony. 1 This corre- 
spondence and the accounts were taken up at headquarters, analyzed, evidently 
by well-informed and able subordinates of the Minister, and the replies sent out 
by the men of war which sailed in the early summer ; so that the normal inter- 
course was to have letters written in the autumn answered in the following 
May or June. It is obvious from Ministerial replies that other sources of 
information than the letters of colonial officials were available. One of these 
sources was the presence in France of officers of the garrison on leave, who were 
given the despatches and probably had an audience with the Minister. 2 Another 
unquestionably was correspondence which no longer is available, and a third was 
the presence in France of officials familiar with the conditions of the Colony. 
From one or all of these were gathered the statements on which the decisions of 
the Council and Ministers were made. 3 

A superior council was established in 1717 which consisted of the 
Governor, the King's Lieutenant, the Commissaire-Ordonnateur sitting as 
first councillor, two other councillors, a procureur-general, and a greffier. This 
was a Court of Justice governed by the Coutume de Paris, from which appeals 
were allowed to Quebec and France, and only after registration by it did 
patents, proclamations, regulations, and grants of land become effective. There 
was also established an Admiralty Court 4 which had charge of shipping, wrecks, 
and marine police. It was sustained by moderate fees on the shipping of the 
port, and being under the High Admiral of France, who had certain rights over 
prizes, confiscations, and wrecks, created a new source of conflict. 

Of greater importance than the " men of the pen," who were officials, 
Treasurer, clerks, and the like, under the Commissaire-Ordonnateur, were the 
" men of the sword," the officers of the troops which the French administration, 
unlike that of England, thought it necessary to keep in an isolated colony even 

1 E.g. Soubras, I.R. vol. 3, f. 186. 

2 L.i IVrelle, who went with dispatches in 1721, had an audience with the Regent arranged for him (I.R. 2, 378). 

The major of the troops, the Treasurer and officers of the Admiralty wrote annually. The rules of the Board as 
to correspondence were not strictly observed. Edict of Jan. 12, 1-27. 

1714-1758 THE GARRISON 47 

in time of profound peace. These troops were neither regular regiments of 
the splendid armies of France nor " Compagnies Franches de la Marine," which, 
formed in 1690, garrisoned the naval dep6ts of France and served on her 
King's ships, although in organization and uniform the Louisbourg troops 
closely resembled the latter corps. They were apparently supplementary 
companies organized on the same basis, for the total number of the Compagnies 
Franches l is accounted for in other services than that of the Colony. There 
is some looseness in the way the Isle Royale troops are described. La Ronde 
and de Pensens announced themselves to Armstrong in 1714 as captains of 
" Compagnies Franches." Later these were described as " Compagnies De- 
tachees," also as " Compagnies Fransaises." Each company was a separate 
unit, and the only purely military officer over the company commanders was 
a major in each garrison to supervise the discipline of the companies in the 
place. He had so little authority that the supervision was usually ineffective, 
and a status so uncertain that he had to have at Louisbourg a declaration that 
he took precedence of the captains of the companies. 

The strength of the garrison of Louisbourg varied from six of these 
companies to twenty-four in the last years. Each consisted of forty-five men, 
raised later to sixty, and in 1 742 to seventy, not counting the drummer, under 
command of a captain, lieutenant, enseigne (an enseigne en deux was added, 
and two cadets a Taiguilette), two sergeants and two corporals. 2 The rations 
were somewhat better than those of Canada, following in this the custom which 
had obtained in Placentia, and for the lower grades of the officers the pay also 
was slightly higher, although Soubras states that it was inadequate. 3 The 
uniform was white with blue facings. At Louisbourg the soldiers were allowed 
to marry, and apparently it was a perquisite of the married soldiers to keep 

The pay of the men was small, but they were supposed to carry on the 
work of the King in building fortifications and similar works, for which they 
received extra pay. They were also allowed to work for the inhabitants, which 
added to their income. The fact that they were only paid twice a year, their 
fondness for drink, their captains supplying them with it, and at a profit to 
themselves, 4 made of these troops an undisciplined and ineffective body, 
which punishments did not deter from evil courses nor inducements to settle, 
turn into good citizens. 

The officers began their career early ; they were entered as soldiers at the 

1 The only account I have found of this body, which deals only incidentally with the troops at Isle Royale, is Les 
Ancicnnes Troupes de la Marine, by G. Coste, Paris, 1893. 

2 B, 35, f. 786. 3 I.R. vol. 2, p. 120. 

4 The outfit was inadequate. Soubras pointed out in 1717 that it was impossible that one pair of shoes and stock- 
ings should last for a year. 

48 THE OFFICERS 1714-1758 

earliest age, even unweaned, "a la mamelle," says L'Hermitte, but, counting 
this an exaggeration, it is known that the sons, six years old, of officers served 
in the ranks, that is, drew rations and pay. They passed through the various 
grades reasonably certain of a pension, unless by gross misconduct they forfeited 
their positions. An early act of the Regency was to fix the age of entrance at 
sixteen. The commissions in these companies were not confined exclusively 
to those trained for them. Indeed the militant forces were rather treated as 
one, whether their service was on sea or land, and there were not infrequent 
instances of company officers taking a position on board ships, and of sea 
officers being translated into officers of these companies. The rank of the 
captain corresponded to Enseigne de Vaisseau, for practical purposes as well 
as precedence. 1 

The conditions at Louisbourg were bad for the officers as well as for the 
men, their relations, the superior making pecuniary profit out of the inferior, 
were demoralizing for both parties, and the permanence of residence for both 
officers and men added another to the many causes which worked against 
effectiveness. There were few changes among the officers except by death, and 
in the quietude of Louisbourg, man after man rose slowly through the different 
grades, placing his sons in the same service, and passed away without at any 
moment discharging the serious duties of his profession.' Eight company 
officers signed the declaration of taking possession in 1713, the descendants of 
six of them were at the siege in 1745, and in addition to these, many of the 
earlier officers were represented by sons and grandsons at the second siege. ' 
From 1713 to 1744 not more active duty was required of these officers than 
garrison service in the town, in one of its outposts, or an occasional mission to 
Quebec or Boston. Thus, owing to the trivial distances they travelled, to that 
extraordinary genius of the French for dealing with the aborigines, they had 
neither the training in adventurous journeys nor in the diplomacy which the 
transforming into permanent allies of new tribes gave to the officer serving in 
Canada. The glimpses which they got of France in the leave which many of 
them enjoyed, brought them in touch from time to time with social conditions 
different from their own. The effect of such visits was transitory. The per- 
manent pressure on the individual came from the standards of a small place, 
with its relationships of blood, marriage, and the social and official adjustments 
which propinquity forces on the members of an isolated community. The 
fishing which the officers carried on in their own names in 1717, and not 
improbably through other parties to a later time, brought them into touch with 
the bourgeois merchants, marriages took place, and in time we find children of 
these merchants and of civil officials serving as officers of these companies. In 

1 St. Ovide in 1-32 was made a post-captain in the navy (B, vol. 5-). 


every respect the conditions were unfavourable to professional and social 
development, so that the readiness for service and the zeal we find in many 
instances is satisfactory evidence of the tough fibre of sound moral qualities. In 
one instance, that of Joseph de Catalogne, an officer spent his leisure in 
scientific studies to such effect that his treatise on the magnet gained for him a 
seat in the Academic des Sciences. Some of these officers had some training as 
engineers, and although the fortifications of Louisbourg were in charge of an 
engineer sent out from France, these officials assisted him and were in charge of 
the fortifications which were built at the outports. The Couange family were 
in this position, and the work of some other young officers was praised by the 
authorities, while incidentally it may be mentioned that Lartigue, the King's 
storekeeper, an amateur engineer, displayed skill during the first siege, and there 
remains to us an admirable map of the siege of 1758 which is his handiwork. 1 
The garrison was further supplemented by some half companies of the Swiss 
regiment of Karrer, which was first formed in 1719, and included in its ranks 
many deserters from foreign regiments. It was in 1720 transferred to the 
department of the navy, and thereafter detachments were sent out, not only to 
Louisbourg, but to the southern colonies of France. One of the advantages of 
these troops was that they were a relief to those of France, and furnished a larger 
proportion of skilled workmen than could be found among the recruits for the 
French companies. 

The industry for which this organization was established, the fisheries, and 
for the protection of which not only was the garrison maintained but fortifications 
were built, was carried on both by vessels filled out in France and by merchants 
resident in Louisbourg and its outports. 2 

A complicated trade of this kind, in which the Government undertook to 
regulate wages and prices of the product, gave rise to much controversy. The 
disposition of the local authorities was naturally to favour the merchants and 
fishermen of the place against their competitors who came out for the season. 
Regulations were passed against the traders from France remaining all winter, 
against their selling at retail. 3 The French merchants as well as the natives 
complained of a tax, following the precedent of Placentia, of a quintal of fish 
from each boat for the support of the hospital. The Board gave way to the 
representations of the merchants, and it was not till some years later that the tax 
was imposed. So far did St. Ovide at a later date carry his favouring of local 
enterprise that the trade with Quebec received a most serious check on account 
of the regulations that vessels from Canada should not leave port with their 
cargoes unsold. This placed them at the mercy of a ring of local buyers, so that 

1 Arch, de la M. Sec. Hydro, herein reproduced. 

2 For details of this trade see Chapter XII. 3 Those were disallowed by the Navy Board. 



the Quebec vessels ceased for a time to come to Louisbourg. Regulations were 
also attempted to prevent larger vessels from fishing near the port, as it interfered 
with boat fishing, and, in short, in every one of these early years are to be found 
instances of flagrant violation of Colbert's maxim, that entire liberty in trade 
should be allowed to those whom alone the State recognized, its own citizens. 

Under these conditions and with this administration proceeded the develop- 
ment of the Colony. It was decided, probably on account of the complaints 
against his regulations, that Soubras should return to Dunkerque. His career 
had certainly not been marked by success, but his correspondence gives the 
impression that he was efficient, although not forceful, for most of the steps he 
had taken for what he had considered the welfare of the Colony were either 
disallowed by superior authority or proved ineffective. A petition from the 
people asking that he should be retained in Cape Breton was forwarded to France, 
but de Mezy, who was on the retired list as Commissaire-Ordonnateur, was 
appointed to the position in 1718. He did not, however, come out until the 
following year. 

In the summer of 1716 L'Hermitte returned to Cape Breton and made an 
expedition to Sable Island, rumours having reached the Court that its settlement 
might be possible. But then, as now, these shifting sand-banks were but a menace 
to the navigator. A vessel from Quebec, with a valuable cargo, had been lost 
there in 1713, only two of her crew escaping to the Island, whence they were 
rescued by a New England vessel. 1 L'Hermitte also made some plans of Louis- 
bourg and Port Toulouse and in the autumn returned to Paris. Beaucours, who 
succeeded him, was apparently not more satisfactory as an engineer, and his 
estimates, like those of L'Hermitte, were considered excessive. He was moved 
from headquarters at Port Dauphin to Port Toulouse as major, and the Sieur 
Verville was sent out from France as engineer in charge of the fortifications. 
The instructions given to him were to examine the places, to fortify Louisbourg 
against a sudden attack until the works at Port Dauphin were completed, to 
prepare complete plans and estimates of cost for the three places, and before 
returning to France to leave instructions for the preparation of materials. He 
was advised not to forget that it is not necessary to fortify on so large a scale in 
the colonies as in Europe. The special grant for this year was sixty thousand 

Verville, to whom these instructions 2 were given in June, visited Isle Royale 
in the autumn and returned to France, where he made a report to the Board. His 
plans and estimates for the fortifications were accepted and work was begun. 8 

1 Among those lost wai the Marquis d'Alogny, commander of the troops in Canada. 
1 June 23, 1716, M. St. M. vol. 51. 3 July 3, 1717. 

i 7 i 7 VERVILLE'S PLANS 51 

The Board directed that the works at Louisbourg, notwithstanding the previous 
decisions which made Port Dauphin the seat of government, should be first gone 
on with. . At the former place Verville took as the key of his system of fortifica- 
tions the little hillock which dominates the peninsula as well as the plain of 
Gabarus lying to the westward, and established there a bastion-redoubt in masonry, 
which was to contain a barracks for at least six companies and their officers, and 
was to be protected from a surprise by a ditch and covered way. Other bastions 
were to be built at the two hills found between this point and the sea ; another 
on the hillock " E " on the harbour side, where a demi-bastion would protect this 
end of the works as well as cover by its fire the adjacent waters of the port, the 
whole occupying a distance of something over one thousand yards (495 toises). 

A heavy battery was to be established at the point " K," which would sweep 
the upper part of the harbour. These, all of which were to be executed in 
fascines and connected by earth-works (retranchements de campagne], together 
with the Island battery, formed the basis of the elaborate system of fortifications 
which on the same principles and on the same site, were carried out at a very 
considerable expense by Verville himself and his successors. The map opposite 
indicates his scheme, and incidentally shows the site of the town to have at that 
time a considerable number of inhabitants. 

Verville, owing to his character or the confidence he felt in the security of 
his position, did not confine himself to a narrow interpretation of the scope of his 
duties. He pointed out the loss of time in the troops travelling about six miles 
to and fro between the barracks and their work. He examined for himself the 
shores adjacent to the town, which he had been assured were inaccessible, and 
found that in five places it was possible to land without wetting his shoe, thus 
proving unfounded the opinion of St. Ovide and Soubras that the only attack to 
be feared was by the harbour. He established a battery at " K," afterwards 
known as the Grand or Royal Battery, which was intended to sweep both the 
upper part of the harbour and its entrance. It was never of any practical use, as 
it was exposed on the land side, and as pointed out by Chaussegros de Lery, the 
engineer of Quebec, a fort on the easterly side, near the site on which the light- 
house was afterwards built, would have been extremely effective in the defence 
of the place. 1 

In a climate like that of Louisbourg, masonry, which Verville substituted for 
provisional earthwork and fascines, was not only expensive to build but costly to 
maintain. The present condition of the earthworks erected along the coast in 
1757 indicates that the latter system of construction would not only have been 
vastly cheaper in first cost, but much more permanent, and as the results proved, 
equally effective when put to the test. In minor matters his observation was not 

1 MSS. Que. vol. 3, p. 267. 


always accurate. He thought, for example, that the environs of Louisbourg would 
supply firewood for the town and garrison for a century, and yet within a few 
years we find the greater part of this supply brought from places as distant as 
Port Toulouse. But the difficulty of ascertaining the resources of an unknown 
and heavily wooded country is shown by their considering the value of the 
discovery of limestone at Canso of sufficient importance to merit a gratuity ; by 
their bringing this material from Port Dauphin to Louisbourg, and by their 
establishing a brickyard at Port Toulouse. It is now known that limestone is 
abundant at Barasois de Mir (Catalone Lake), about six miles from Louisbourg, 
and on the Mire River, not far from its mouth, is a bed of perfect brick clay. 1 

The notes of the Navy Board frequently quote Verville's opinions, or refer 
matters to him, although he criticized the policy of the Board in encouraging 
soldiers to settle. The chief outcome of his representations on extra-professional 
matters was the forbidding of officers to engage in fishing, which was enacted in 
1718. He urged this course on the Government on the ground that it was 
unprofitable to the officers, detrimental to their soldiers, and unfair to the civilians. 

The first year of the settlement (1714) New England vessels came in to 
trade. St. Ovide bought four of their cargoes, L'Hermitte says, a fact which 
he deplores, as they can undersell the local merchants ; but similar transactions 
are not noted in the following two or three years. St. Ovide says four or five 
vessels came in for wood and water, but that he only allowed them to remain for 
twenty-four hours, and placed on each a sergeant and two men to prevent illicit 
trading. In September 1716 he reports that an English frigate visited 
Louisbourg to claim eighty deserters from Annapolis. He, mortified that his 
own cellar was so low that he could not make this little present, allowed the 
captain to buy from merchants of the town a cask of wine and a keg of brandy, 
for which molasses was exchanged. 2 

This was the frigate Rose* twenty guns, cruising from Boston, seeking for deserters 
from Annapolis (Captain's letters, 1596). She arrived at Louisbourg on the 2Qth of August, 
and saluted the fort with eleven guns, which was properly returned, and after remaining 
there till the /th of September left on a cruise to the westward. She was under the command 
of Lieutenant B. Young. He reports that a French vessel of forty guns, which was the 
Attlante, arrived shortly before his leaving. Lieutenant Young occupied part of his time 
by drawing a rough map of the port and the operations then going on, which is now 
preserved in the Colonial Office, London. 

Legitimate trade shows its first beginnings in those years. A vessel from 
Martinique was wrecked at Isle Madame. Boularderie, who had saved the 
situation in 1713 as far as the Quebec supplies and garrison were concerned, 

1 These were used after 1727 (B, 50, f. 599). J I.R. vol. i, p. 455. l B.T.N.S. vol. 2, p. 96. 



branched out by sending a vessel for molasses for the supply of the settlements. 1 
The authorities at Quebec had been urged to establish trade with Isle Royale. 
This was carried on from the first, an important part of it being supplies of 
flour, peas, etc., for the troops, which were annually sent except in years of 
scarcity in Canada. The frigate Attlante loaded coal for Rochefort, and the 
fishing industry was prosecuted by an increasing number of vessels, but the 
trade which gave the authorities the greatest concern was that with the British 
colonies. In addition to the New England vessels a constant trade was carried 
on by way of the Gulf by the French inhabitants of Nova Scotia, a development 
which was foreseen by Mascarene and Bennett, the officers who had accompanied 
La Ronde on his visit to these settlements. The profitable business of supply- 
ing Louisbourg with provisions made New England traders indifferent to 
regulations, and they took full advantage of this new market. 2 

The transfer of the Acadians to Cape Breton, so ardently hoped for, the 
advantages of which were recognized by both the French and English as of the 
utmost value to the new establishment, became year by year more obviously 
impossible. One reason, and perhaps the most important, next to the dis- 
advantages of Cape Breton from their standpoint as compared with Nova 
Scotia, was that the promises of the French Government had not been carried 
out ; possibly many of the other reasons alleged by them for remaining, even 
under distressing conditions, were meant to conceal the real one. The Regent's 
Council was annoyed at a report to the effect that some of those who had worked 
for the King had not been paid, a report which Costebelle denied. Soubras 
described them as a people naturally froward, distrustful, and irresolute, 8 those 
of them who had rations too lazy to clear land even for a garden ; the first 
statement, in connection with Isle Royale, of that disparagement of the colonial 
fellow-citizen which is so difficult for the European to suppress. 4 

Barrailh, a competent officer, thought that the priests were at the bottom of 
their trouble, as they could more completely govern these people and live at 
their ease in Acadia, but that if they were moved to Isle Royale the people 
would follow them. Verville showed accuracy of observation in stating that he 
thought the Acadians were of more service to the new colony where they were 
than if removed, and the last time there was talk of sending a vessel for them 
was in the instructions given to Barrailh to go in the Charente. These 
instructions were as usual pacific, and ordered him to take every care to avoid 
a rupture with the English authorities. He was not sent by the Louisbourg 

1 I.R. vol. i, p. 455. 

2 The traders of New England began by claiming that commerce was free to them, possibly a misapprehension as to 
the terms of the Commercial Treaty of Utrecht. This, however, referred only to the European territories of the con- 
tracting parties, and, moreover, never went into effect, as its ratification was refused by Parliament. 

3 "Ce peuple naturellment indociles diffiantes et irresolus." 4 I.R. 2, p. 5 2 - 


authorities, but instead, the Acadians were informed that if they came in their 
own vessels they would receive a welcome. So far a fall from the promises of 
de la Ronde was followed by an equal abatement in their enthusiasm. De Mezy 
saw they would not leave a good for a poor country ; Father de la Marche, while 
sure of their loyalty, had to admit that they would not leave Nova Scotia. 
Doucette, 1 in a letter to St. Ovide, May 15, 1718, took the view that the 
agreement might be null and void if the inhabitants of Nova Scotia desired, if 
not, that speedy orders might be issued to provide for their retirement into the 
dominions of France. This was an adequate warrant for more effective steps 
than any of the authorities at Louisbourg took.- Had they removed to Isle 
Royale, or had France not sought to retain its influence over them, their 
subsequent history had been less tragic. The danger which Vetch feared 3 passed 
away, for those who did come were a few farmers, many idlers who were 
supported by the Government, and a certain number of carpenters, boat-builders, 
longshoremen, and tavern-keepers, who found in the activities of Louisbourg 
more profitable employment than Nova Scotia afforded them. It was not until 
Isle St. Jean was opened up that any considerable number of them again lived 
under the French Crown. 

Costebelle sailed from Louisbourg on the Attlanteon the 1 2th of October 1716. 
Her voyage was so protracted that he landed at Belle Isle no earlier than Christmas 
Day. A week later he was at Croisic, whence he forwarded the dispatches he 
had brought, as he was so ill that he could not say when his health would 
permit him to take horse for Paris. 4 His business was to obtain a settlement 
of various claims he had against the Crown for outlays at Placentia, which 
included supplies to the King's stores, the sending of a vessel to France and 
one to Boston with La Ronde in I7ii, 5 in that curious attempt to play on the 
republican feelings of New England which they had conceived and most un- 
successfully carried out after it had received the approval of Pontchartrain. A 
more important item was that of 1 8,000 1. for the entertainment of the English 
prisoners at his table/' The total amount was 71,000,!. but his vouchers were 
inadequate, and there were outstanding claims against him respecting the spoils 
of St. John's which came into his. possession after its capture. 7 

Costebelle obtained from the Regent a gratuity of 2000!., and he remained 
in France for some months. He visited, in the following August, his birth-place, 
St. Alexandre, a hamlet on the borders of Languedoc, which from the highlands 
looks down on Pont St. Esprit and the valley of the majestic Rhone. He 

1 Doucette was Lieut. -Governor of Nova Scotia from 1717 to 1726. 2 B.T.N.S. vol. 2. 

3 P. 21. I.R. i, 45-. Mass. Arch. vol. 6. 

" The sum eems large, but the Governors apparently entertained constantly. St. Ovide, who in 1717 had not 
received his salary for 1714, says that at his table were always twenty to twenty-four persons. 
7 I.R. 5, p. n. 

1717 HIS DEATH 55 

returned to Louisbourg on the Attlante^ and on the voyage was so ill that on 
September 6, 1717, in a shaky hand, he made his will leaving 500 1. to his servant, 
the chain on which he wore his Cross of St. Louis to his eldest daughter, and 
some papers to his brother. The fact that in his will he did not mention his 
wife, a member of the De la Tour family, a widow whom he had married in 
1 704, at Placentia, indicates his feebleness at the moment and the embarrassment 
of his affairs. He was an affectionate husband, who knew the heights of married 
felicity, as he wrote to her : " Sans toi je ne sc.aurois gouter que des plaisirs 
imparfaits," and with tender courage says, " Ne t'embrasse 1' esprit d'aucune 
affaire bonne ou mauvais, ma plus chere amie et laisse-moi supporter les con- 
tretemps que la fortune peut nous prepare." * Though in this same letter he 
says that he will extricate her from her troubles, this was impossible. He died 
leaving her in absolute destitution. Her torments at the hands of pitiless 
creditors, until she left Louisbourg were, says St. Ovide, a harrowing spectacle. 2 

On the death of Costebelle he was succeeded by St. Ovide, a dithyrambic 
petition having been sent to the Government asking for his appointment. " Oui, 
Monseigneur, 1'officier et le soldat, le marchand et 1'habitant, Jes pasteurs, et 
leurs troupeaux, tous elevent leur voix, tous forment des vceux en sa faveur." 8 
The King's lieutenancy, made vacant by his promotion, was given to de 

The work on the fortifications had engaged the attention of the authorities, 
but up to this time they had been carried on by day's labour under the 
supervision of the engineer, the force employed being the troops and various 
artisans sent out from France for this purpose. Verville complained of the 
extravagance and slow progress made, and the council determined to carry on 
this construction by contract. The work was put up to tender " a 1'extinction 
de bougie." The successful bidder was a Sieur Isabeau who proceeded to 
Louisbourg on the first King's ship which went out in the following year, and 
took over the work. 4 

The Council of the Navy had promised, after the disastrous winter of 1 7 1 5-1 6, 
that such conditions would not be permitted to occur again ; but after a famine 
in 1717 so bad that the troops at Port Toulouse were, in the spring, reduced to 
bread and water, 5 in 1718 conditions were again so desperate, there being in 
the colony only two hundredweight of bread for four thousand people, that 
after contemplating sending the entire garrison back to France or Acadia, 6 

1 Bib. Nat. N.A. F, 3283. 

2 Madame Costebelle found on presenting her claims to the Regent that Costebelle had taken the gratuity referred 
in satisfaction of them. She, however, received a pension which she drew for many years. The Alphabet Laffilard says he 
died in France, but in this seems inaccurate. His effects at Louisbourg were sold in 1720 for the benefit of his creditors. 

3 I.R. vol. 2, f. 217. 4 B, 40, f. 538$, June 28, 1718. 5 I.R. 2, f. 243. 

8 St. Ovide abandoned the idea of sending them to settlements about Chignecto, as it might give umbrage to the 


St. Ovide took the step of sending most of it to Quebec for the winter. He 
thus left in Louisbourg, at a time which the events to be recounted in the next 
chapter will show was a critical one, only some one hundred and forty-one 
soldiers. The change, however, in economic conditions was so swift that the 
next year, October 1719, Barrailh, who was again out in Isle Royale, says that 
there were seventy vessels in the island, which made bread, wine, and brandy 
cheaper in Louisbourg than in France. This is generally confirmed by 
Bradstreet, an officer of the English garrison at Canso, writing to the Board 
of Trade in 1725 saying, "he was familiar with Louisbourg, and had found 
there so many vessels from New England and Nova Scotia that two sheep could 
be bought there for the price of one at Canso. 1 

The development of the town is seen not only in the increase of its 
population but by the various regulations which were made from time to time ; 
on the military side forbidding the erection of any buildings or the planting of 
trees within a distance of three hundred and fifty toises from the fortifications ; 
on the commercial, by the regulations against the erection of houses higher than 
seven feet in the post in order that the free circulation of air, essential to the 
successful drying of fish, might not be hampered ; on the civil side by forbidding, 
on account of the danger of fire, the covering of the houses with bark. The 
town was laid out and a plan made, 2 and lands were granted to the people under 
the condition that within a year and a day the land should be occupied (d'y tenir 
feu et lieu). 

The streets of the new town were narrow. Outside of Italian cities of this 
period but few towns were drained, and had it not been for the salubrity of the 
air of Cape Breton conditions at Louisbourg would have been unwholesome. 
The fishing industry is not a cleanly one ; the sheep and goats of the people 
were kept by a public herd, who received soldier's ration and small pay, but the 
pigs ran at large. An ordinance was passed empowering any one to kill them if 
they destroyed property. The regulation states that " they damage the drying 
fish and the poultry, and are even so ferocious that there is danger sometimes 
for little children." 

The necessity for an hospital was recognized from the first, although the 
tax proposed by Soubras for its support was disallowed. The treatment given 
was unsatisfactory to the people. The Bayle et Jurats of St. Jean de Luz and 
one La Mothe, a merchant representing the people of Louisbourg, appeared 
before the Board. In the course of their representations they stated that the 
hospital was useless, as the people went to the ship's surgeons or used Indian 

English. That he contemplated doing so would seem to bear the same construction as La Ronde, Denys, and de Penseni 
not visiting these settlements in 1714, namely, that there was no doubt in the minds of any of them that they were in 
French territory. 

1 B.T.N'.S. vol. 2. s The plan ordered in 1718 did not finally receive ministerial sanction until 1723. 


remedies in place of those supplied by the two local surgeons, and they did not 
hesitate to . say that Soubras turned the funds to his own use. The Board 
endeavoured to improve matters. They ordered that one of the best surgeons 
be sent from Brest, as the reports of La Grange and Le Roux, who had come 
from Placentia, were unsatisfactory. It was also decided to place the hospital 
in the charge of the Freres de la Charite, 1 four of whom had come out in 1716. 

A conflict of jurisdiction had arisen in ecclesiastical matters. Spiritual 
affairs in Placentia had been under Recollets of Brittany, and Father Dom. de 
la Marche had come with the first settlers ; but the Bishop of Quebec, whose 
diocese included Nova Scotia and Isle Royale, had appointed the Recollets of 
Paris to this cure. The civil authorities temporized with the matter, and allotted 
the spiritual care of the Acadians and the services of the King's chapel to the 
latter, while the general population was served by monks of Brittany, who finally 
remained in possession of the field. 2 The importance of the Basque element in 
the population was recognized by sending out a priest of that nationality. 

The chief drawback to the prosperity of Louisbourg was unquestionably 
drink. It impressed Verville so much that he says, in explaining the in- 
effectiveness of the work going on, that the troops who should be at work 
escape daily to roam the woods and to get drunk, far in excess of these 
European nations who were given to drink. 

Soubras battled with the evil and proposed and tried many expedients. 
Fines, rewards to informers, and severe punishments of those who would not 
tell where they obtained drink, were the obvious measures. He tried also the 
prohibition of the officers' canteens, in which drink was sold to the soldiers, but 
found that this simply increased the number of groggeries. He endeavoured to 
restrict the sale to six of the principal people of the place, but found that these 
would not act, and he anticipated the Gothenburg system by proposing that the 
sale should be exclusively in the hands of the Government. In some of these 
proposals he received the support of the Board, but the result justified Costebelle's 
view that nothing effective could be done until more settled conditions prevailed. 

The echoes of the Regent's experiments were heard in Louisbourg, and 
Law's Mississippi Company was imitated in these northern islands. M. 
Poupet de la Boularderie, formerly an officer in the Navy and in the troops of 
Acadia, but for many years a trader, was given a grant of that beautiful and 
fertile island which lies between the great and little entrances to the Bras d'Or 
Lakes. It still perpetuates his name. His grant also included the opposite 
southern shore to a league in depth, the island at Ingonish, exclusive beach 

1 This was a religious fraternity founded in 1540 by the Portuguese, St. Jean de Dieu, at Granada in Spain, thence 
it spread to Italy and in 1601 to France. It was of sufficient eminence to have charge of the hospitals de la Charite in 
Paris and at Charenton. 2 Their letters patent were not sent out until 1731 (B, 55, f. 577). 


rights for one hundred fishers, and the use of the King's ship Le Paon for two 
years. 1 He undertook to place one hundred settlers the first year, fifty the 
next, and employ one hundred fishermen. He was given command for the 
King in his lands, and a "safe conduct" for three months, that delightful 
opposite of the lettre de cachet, which during its currency made its holder 
superior to all judicial and police mandates. He proceeded vigorously to the 
development of his grant, first by his unaided efforts, which were undertaken 
on so great a scale that he contemplated the building of a ship of twelve hundred 
tons ; but, hampered by the shipwreck of one of his vessels in the St. Lawrence, 
and the exhaustion of his funds, he turned his grant over to a company of 
Malouin merchants, with whom he quarrelled. 2 He formed another company 
in Havre and Rouen, which accomplished little, so that at his death in 1738 it 
was a question whether the grant of the property would be confirmed to his 
son. 3 There had been obtained for his son in early life a position as a page 
in the household of Her Royal Highness, the Duchesse d'Orleans. When he 
had outgrown this position at Court, he obtained a lieutenancy in the regiment 
of Richelieu, and after a service of seven years obtained a company therein. 
When the aged Berwick, that able general whom the deposed Stuarts had given 
to France, led her armies to victory over the Austrians, Boularderie went 
through the campaigns of Kehl, Phillippsbourg, and Clauzen. Then, through 
a reverse of fortune, he had to sell his company, but retained the assistance of 
that grand Seigneur, the Due de Richelieu. The death of his father followed 
shortly afterwards, and the concessions being confirmed to .him, Boularderie 
came out to Isle Royale, with the remains of his personal fortune, the proceeds 
of the sale of a house in Paris. He brought with him husbandmen and craftsmen 
from Normandy, and according to his own account was most successful. " I 
have in my employment twenty- five persons, a very handsome house, barn, 
stable, dairy, dovecot, and oven, wind and water-mills, twenty-five cows and 
other live stock." He grew wheat, in 1740 he had 150 bbls. of fine wheat 
and vegetables as in Europe, and had a large orchard and a garden, but disasters 
befell him in this charming establishment. 

The earlier grants of the islands in the Gulf, St. Jean and the Magdalens, 
having been finally revoked in 1710, a Count St. Pierre took advantage of his 
position at Court, that of first Equerry to the Duchesse d'Orleans, to obtain a 
grant and found a company for the development of these islands. His enterprise 
was unsuccessful. The merchants of St. Malo protested so vigorously against 
the exercise by the company of its exclusive fishing rights, and their protection 

1 Feb. 15, 1719, B, vol. 41, f. 565. 2 Cor. (Canada), C, n, 64, 172^ 

3 One account speaks of the older Boularderie as captain in Acadia in 1702, his grant describes him as Enseigne de 
Vaisseau. He was given a frigate in 1713 for trading. * Dernieri Jcun de I'sicadie, p. 287. 


by an armed vessel (ij22^ 1 that these rights were curtailed, and notwithstanding 
the loan of artillery and an officer, the enterprise was abandoned in 1724 and 
these islands reunited to the royal domain in 1730, the fear of a seignorial 
establishment having, in the interval, retarded the settlement of the island by 
the Acadians. 2 M. Ruette D'Auteuil, after a stormy career in Canada, where he 
had been at one time Procureur-General at Quebec^ also received a grant of 
Isle Madame on substantially the same conditions of settlement, but no vigorous 
efforts were made at colonization. After some years St. Ovide reported that it 
had also failed, and expressed his disapproval of the system. These companies, 
like their great prototype, added three to the long list of failures, both French 
and English, to establish in America the profitable corporate administration 
of land. 

At last the question of the chief establishment of the colony was to be 
permanently settled. St. Ovide had been much impressed by the advantages of 
Port Toulouse on his tour through the island, thus confirming the good opinion 
it had made on him in 1714, and now recommended it warmly to the Council, 
and asked them to hear Rouville, who was in France, and to appoint a commission 
to make a report on the matter. 3 

This suggestion was supported by two petitions. One, which described 
Louisbourg as a bottomless pit for funds, was signed by officials ; the other by 
the principal inhabitants. The latter stated that so soon after coming from 
Placentia and other places, they were unable to bear the expense of a second 
moving, but if the King would pay the actual cost, they would gladly go to 
Port Toulouse, and leave behind the tavern-keepers, who made up two-thirds of 
the population of Louisbourg. 4 The reply to these petitions, which reflect, on 
account of his position, perhaps little more than the personal opinion of the 
Governor, was in the negative. Louisbourg was made the principal place, the 
irst indication of which had been the mounting of six guns in 1719. But to 
mark the decision as final, a medal commemorating its founding and fortification 
was designed and struck, and in the following year it was placed in the 
foundation of the King's bastion. Six years had passed in uncertainty. Isle 
Royale had repeated the mistakes previously made in Canada and Louisiana, 
jainst which Villien had warned the Minister without success. However, the 
question was at last settled, the administration was concentrated there, and was 
coincident with De Mezy's taking the place of Soubras. The troops were 
brought together from the outports, with the exception of small detachments, 
md a renewal of discipline was hoped for, and in some measure attained. 

1 C, ii, vol. 12, p. 78. 2 May 1720, I.R. vol. 5, f. 56. 3 I.R. vol. 4, Jan. 9, 1719. 

* This indicates again the prevalence of drinking, as does an earlier letter of St. Ovide and Soubras, who speak of 
"Cabaretiers qui ruinent entierrement la colonnie," Nov. 13, 1717 (I.R. vol. 2). 


ARCHIVES DU CANADA ISLE ROYALE. (I.R. vol. i (St.) Ottawa.) 


II y en a sept a PIsle Royale dans chacune desquelles, il y a un Capitaine, un 
Lieutenant et un Enscigne, deux Sergents, deux caporaux, quarante-cinq soldats, et un 

II leur est delivre tous les ans un habillement, une anncc le grand habillement et 
Pannce suivante le petit. 

Le grand habillement consiste en un justaucorps, une culotte, deux chemises, deux 
cravatcs, un chapeau, une paire de bas et deux paires de souliers. 

Le petit habillement consiste en une veste, une culotte, deux chemises, deux cravates, 
un chapeau, une paire de bas et deux paires de souliers. 

Ces habillcments ne doivent estre dlivrs qu'aux efFectifs et on conserve le surplus 
dans les magasins pour les recrues. 

La ration du sergent et du soldat est par jour d'une livre et demie de pain, quatre onces 
de lard cru ou demy livre de boeuf, quatre onces de 16gumes, un quarteron de beurre et cinq 
livres de mlasse par mois. 

Cette ration est plus forte qu'en Canada ou il ne se delivre au soldat par jour qu'une 
livre et demie de pain et un quarteron de lard, cette augmentation a t6 accorded 4 
Plaisance a cause du mauvais pays et continue 1 a 1'Isle Royale par rapport au nouvel 
Etablissement, quand le pays sera establi on la diminuera. 

11 est retenu pour l'habillement et ration par mois au Sergent 9 ft". ios., au Caporal 
7 ff. ios. et au soldat 7 ft", ios. de sorte qu'il reste de solde toute deduction faire, except^ 
celle des 45. pour livre, au Sergent 13 ff. par mois, au Caporal 6 ft", et au soldat 305. 

La distribution de Phabillement, des vivres et de la solde regarde le Commissaire 

Tout le militaire regarde le Gouverneur de 1'Isle et les fonctions de 1'un et de 1'autre 
sont les mcmes que celles du Gouverneur Gdndral et de 1'Intendant du Canada. 


The correspondence of all the French officers shows an eagerness for the Cross of 
St. Louis. This order was founded by Louis XIV. in 1693. There had been up to that 
time only two orders that of St. Michel, founded by Louis XI. in 1469, and the Saint 
Esprit, founded by Henri III., 1578-79, the former of which had fallen into such discredit 
that Henry gave command that none should be admitted to the splendid order he was 
founding save Knights of St. Michel ; therefrom springs the expression so common under 
the splendid portraits of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, designating the subject 
as of " the King's Orders." The restrictions of the Order of Saint Esprit to those of lofty 
descent left Louis XIV. without means of honouring the many officers who distinguished 
themselves in his service, so the Order of St. Louis was founded. The King was Grand 
Master, the Dauphin or heir-presumptive to the throne was a member, there were eight 
Grand Cross, twenty-four Commanders, who could only be admitted as Knights, and as 
many Knights as the King might designate. It was reserved to Catholics, officers on sea 
or land who had served for ten years. 


Admission to the order carried pensions of considerable value. As the order was at 
first constituted the junior Knights, thirty-two had a pension of 800 1. j forty-eight, 
loool. ; twenty-four higher, 1500!.; and the highest twenty, 2000 1. ; but in 1719 the 
Regent increased the number of Chevaliers from 128 to 413, with pensions decreasing 
from 2OOO 1. to 200 1. The recipient at his induction knelt, swore to serve the King 
faithfully, and no other sovereign without permission, that he was a Catholic, and that 
he would live as a good, wise, virtuous, and valiant Knight ; the Governor drew his sword, 
touched him on each shoulder and delivered to him the order, which he was to wear on a 
flame-coloured ribbon on his chest. At the death of a Chevalier his Cross was returned. 
The large number of Chevaliers of the Order led to abuses, and apparently at Louisbourg it 
came almost to be a question of length of service. In 1749 it was so common in France 
that, apparently up to that time there had been no danger in representing oneself as 
belonging to the Order. In consequence an "ordonnance" was issued forbidding the 
wearing its Cross without authority. 1 The pensions do not seem to have been paid 
regularly. An interesting list of the Louisbourg refugees at Rochefort about 1763, which 
gives particulars of the officers, their families, their debts and resources, in no case mentions 
the pension of the Chevaliers as a source of income, and in the lively conversation of Le 
Neveu de Rameau reference is made to the destitution of some of the Chevaliers. 

1 Its history in three vols., VOrdre de St-Louis, has been written by A. Mazas, Paris, 1860. A number of the Isle 
Royal Chevaliers are not noted in the lists he gives. A list of officers of Louisbourg, 1744-63 (Arch. Col. D 4) 
shows that the Majors, Aide-Majors, and every Captain of ten years' service had received the Cross, usually at the end of 
that time. 


WHILE fishing was vigorously prosecuted from Louisbourg and its neighbouring 
outports, the French fishermen at Isle Madame and the ports to the westward 
came, during these years, in contact with those of New England in the 
neighbourhood of Canso. English fishermen had freely used the harbours of 
Isle Royale, but it soon came to pass that both French and English used the 
port of Canceau, or, in its modern form, Canso, situated on an island separated 
only by the narrowest of waterways from the mainland of Nova Scotia. The 
French had frequented it for a century and a half. 1 

In 1717 there were six French and five English fishing stations there. 
The next year St. Ovide gave orders to the French to withdraw, but was begged 
by the New Englanders to leave them, as the latter were threatened by the 
Indians.- In August, George Vaughan, formerly Governor of New Hampshire, 
was at Canso, and found " all things peaceable and quiet, the French and 
English fishing with all friendship and love." 

Some of the Canso people had, in June, petitioned the Council of 
Massachusetts to the effect that the French were using Canso, and had 
threatened the English with removal. 4 The petitioners had thought it their 
duty to represent this state of affairs to the Council, so that the rights of 
Englishmen might not be infringed. The authorities thereupon sent to Canso 
Captain Smart of the frigate Squirrel, which had been sent to protect the 
shipping of North America from pirates. His instructions were to inquire into 
the truth of the French encroachments. He carried a letter from Shute, 
Governor of Massachusetts, to St. Ovide, that Shute expected him to 
" immediately order the French under his command to pull down their Hutts 
and also not to fish any more upon y't shoar." 5 

Smart arrived at Canso on September 6, left on the 7th for Louisbourg, 
where he had a conference with St. Ovide. The accounts of this interview 

1 A Captain Savalcttc of St. Jean He Luz was living a little to the west of Canso in 1565. 

8 The French were inclined to believe the territory was English ; English authorities that it was French. I.R. 
vol. 3, and the Commissioners of Trade to Townhend, March 14, 1721. 

s C.O. 5/867. C.O. 5/793. C.O. 5/867. Ad. Sec. In Letters, vol. 2542. 



given, on the one hand, by Smart and Southack, 1 and, on the other, by St. 
Ovide, are irreconcilable. The Squirrel returned to Canso on the I4th. 2 On 
the 1 8th Smart seized every French vessel and all French property he could 
find, and sailed away to Boston with plunder valued at 200,000 I. 3 

News of this exploit was promptly brought to Louisbourg, where their 
understanding with Southack and Smart seemed to have been generally held to 
be satisfactory, for no preparations had been made to deal with the conditions 
which confronted the authorities. The news was as much a surprise at 
Louisbourg as the event had been to the fishers at Canso. St. Ovide at once 
took spasmodic action. He impressed a Malouin trading vessel of thirty guns, 
armed her, and put on board forty soldiers, under Ste. Marie, 4 and sailors from 
other vessels in the harbour to bring her complement up to two hundred and 
fifty men. Her captain had none of that spirit which made St. Malo la cite 
corsaire. He and his crew made so many difficulties that the condition 
bordered on revolt, and by nightfall, when it was intended she should sail, she 
was not ready. The weather the next day was bad, and the expedition was 
abandoned. Such is the account given in the joint letter of St. Ovide and 
Soubras, 5 but the latter wrote to the Minister disavowing any share in these 
preparations, and severely blaming St. Ovide, with supreme authority, for not 
having overcome the difficulties and delays. 6 

This action of St. Ovide, so deplorably weak that Soubras says he groans 
while he writes an account of it, was almost inevitable with an ordinary man in 
charge at Louisbourg. 7 Its wretched condition must have been evident to 
Smart ; they had no cannon mounted, they had no men-of-war, they had no 
provisions, and their troops had been reduced to one hundred and forty- 
one men. 

Instead of a warlike expedition, St. Ovide 8 sent Ste. Marie and Laforest, a 
clerk, to Canso. Laforest was to make on the ground a formal protest, to 
draw up a careful and accurate account of what had happened, on which, if the 
facts warranted, the right of reprisals might be based. Ste. Marie was to order 
the French to withdraw, and to remain on the ground until these instructions 
were carried out. Ste. Marie was further instructed to tell the Indians to 
behave, to do justice to the English, and to make the French pay their debts 
before leaving. 9 

1 Southack was with Smart as a representative of Massachusetts. 

2 B.T.N.S. vol. 2 ; I.R. vol. 3. 

* The subsequent proceedings outside Cape Breton are too lengthy to be here narrated. The whole incident will 
be dealt with in a monograph now in preparation. 

4 I.R. vol. 3, Oct. 19, 1718. 5 I.R. vol. 3, Oct. 1718. 

6 Some suspicion of the accuracy of St. Ovide's version of what the writer calls the " childish conference with 
Smart " is implied in Soubras emphasizing the fact that he was not present at these interviews. 

7 I.R. vol. 3. f. 186. Soubras, Oct. 18, 1718, I.R. vol. 3, f. 186. 9 Letter of Oct. 6. 


The part which the Indians of Nova Scotia took in the next incident at 
Canso makes it desirable to indicate briefly their relations to the European 
colonists of the Atlantic seaboard. This was one of extreme friendliness to the 
French and hostility to the English. The Pax Gallica, which for so long 
existed throughout so large a part of the wilds of North America, is an 
enduring monument to the sagacity of French administrators, the self-sacrifice 
of French missionaries, and the savoir-faire of French traders and ' fishermen. 
The effects of this have been indicated by reference to the attacks on the 
English fishing vessels on the coast of Nova Scotia, the safety which the English 
fishers found at Canso in company with the French, and the fact that at the 
same time Frenchmen had no fear of living among these savages along this 
stretch of the coast on which the English only could land in peril. 1 


"On 30 Ap. 1715 lie sailed with 2 sloops & one two mast vessel for a fishing voyage 
to Nova Scotia. I4th May arrived at Port Rossway & landed I7th, vessels sailed on their 
fishing 1 8th. Welcomed by Mons. Tarranguer & Joseph Muess. 23rd. Welcomed by 
the chief captain of Cape Sables & 8 Indian Officers. 25th. M. Tarranguer came and 
threatened to lead 100 Indians to capture all the fishing vessels on the coast. 28th June 
received news of capture of an English vessel and men. 3rd July. Informed of the 
capture of another fishing sloop by the Indians, who threatened him with capture and 
death; saying Costabelle had given to the Indians a great present, nth July. 2 vessels 
came in and told him of a capture of 7 sail at Port Seigneur, that the Indians were on 
their way to capture him & his, would kill him. They refused to carry him, his people 
& effects away, unless he first gave them a bill of 500 current money of Boston & ^125 
to be p'd in Boston. Agreed to. ... Loss sustained at Port Rossway ^450 & the 
fishing season. " - 

This condition of affairs has certain causes which are fairly well defined, 
chief among which is the different attitude of the French and English to the 
aborigines. The former recognized them as independent allies, not as subjects, 
acknowledging them as sovereign owners of the land, who permitted the 
usufruct of it to their allies. Pownall, Governor of Massachusetts, says the 
English, on the contrary, 8 

"with an unsatiable thirst after landed possessions, have got Deeds and other fraudulent 
pretences, grounded on the abuse of Treaties, and by these Deeds claim possession, even 
to the exclusion of the Indians, not only from their Hunting Grounds (which with them 
is a right of great consequence) but even from their house and home. . . . Upon these 
pretences they have drove the Indians off their Lands : the Indians unable to bear it any 

1 See also Arceneau's account of his voyage to Cape Breton in 1714. 2 B.T.N.S. vol. 2, f. 7. 3 C.O. 5/518. 


longer told Sir William Johnson that they believed soon they should not be able to hunt 
a bear into a hole in a tree but some Englishman would claim a right to the property of 
it as being his tree . . . this is the sole ground of the loss and alienation of the Indians 
from the English Interest : and this is the ground the French work upon : on the contrary 
the French possessions interfere not with the Indian's Rights, but aid and assist their interest 
and become a means of their support." 

The splendid heroism of the French missionaries had made these Indians, 
as well as those of the tribes of Canada, Roman Catholic, and a passion for the 
orthodoxy of that church made their savage converts more hostile to the heretic 
than priests and administrators of French origin. St. Ovide objected to the 
employment of Swiss troops at Louisbourg, as this toleration of heretics would 
have a bad effect on the Indians. 1 Vaudreuil 2 expresses the French policy in 
these phrases : " But as Father de la Chasse says, grace among the Indians has 
often some help from man, and among them worldly gain serves as a channel 
of doctrine " (" Mais comme me margue le pere de la Chasse la grace parmis 
les sauvages a souvent de la co-operation de rhomme, et parmis eux I'int6r6t 
temporel sert de la (sic) vehicule a la foix.") 

The standard form of the " vehicule a la foix " was an annual giving of 
presents of practical utility to the Indians. These presents were dependent in 
amount on the number of warriors in the tribe, and consisted of powder, lead, 
flints, and axes. The occasion of the distribution was an important one for 
conference, and in the earlier years took place frequently at St. Peter's, but on 
at least one occasion St. Ovide contemplated going to Antigonish on the 
mainland of Nova Scotia, but was deterred by the not unreasonable objections 
which might be made by Phillips. 8 

This system was more potent in keeping the friendliness of their allies 
than the occasional efforts made by the English to win them over. These 
efforts were never satisfactory, and the punishments of the Indians for wrong- 
doings by the English were, as all punishments of that epoch, harsh, and in 
addition they were humiliating and irritated the Indians. The scalp bounties 
of the colonies included rewards for the killing of Indian women and children, 
although a lesser money value was set on the scalp of a woman or child than 
on that of a man. 4 The strange conditions, in which we find a benign and 
devout clergyman praying that the young men who have joined the Mohawks 
in a scalping expedition against the French and Indians may go in the fear 
of the Lord, and regarding the bringing in of French scalps as a good omen, 
were such as made it easy for the French to retain the goodwill and affection 
of their allies. There seemed to have been no resentment among the Indians 

1 " Que Ton ne retient que par des motifs de Religion." 

2 To Minister, September 16, 1714. 3 1721, 1.R. vol. 5. 

4 Reference to this gruesome subject is made in the Appendix. William's Diary, Parkman MSS., May 1747. 



when any of their number were punished by the French. The only important 
case in Isle Royale was the murder of Count d'Agrain by two Indians in his 
employment ; * the criminals were apprehended and executed, without apparently 
causing any irritation among the other members of the tribe. 

The attitude of the French Government was throughout consistent. It is 
indicated in a reply of the Council to a letter of Costebelle 2 in which he says : 
" The savages of the French mission on the shores of Acadia are such irreconcil- 
able enemies of the English people, that we cannot, with our most peaceable 
speeches, impress them not to trouble their trade." The Council's memorandum 
of reply was to maintain the savages in this state of mind, namely, " to allow 
no English settlement in Acadia or fishing on its shores, but this should be 
done prudently and secretly." This was continued for a generation. St. 
Ovide was reprimanded for having conveyed to the Indians, at a somewhat 
later time than this, the impression that the small garrison at Isle St. Jean was 
to help them in their raids against the English; 8 but in 1727 Father Gaulin 
was suspected of assisting the Indians in making peace with the English, and 
although he was an old man, broken with years of service as a missionary, 
the report seriously irritated Maurepas. 4 

The difficulties inherent in such a situation were increased by braggart 
and turbulent Frenchmen, who threatened the English at Canso and elsewhere 
on the coast with Indian attacks and made free in their menaces with the 
names of Costebelle and St. Ovide. All French accounts of expeditions in 
which the Indians took a part show that they were intractable, capricious allies, 
following the French leader when his movements suited them ; at other times, 
when his persuasions and threats failed, making him yield to their views. 
Therefore, while the correspondence gives the impression that the earlier 
French authorities were sincere in not encouraging their allies to deeds of 
violence, and in protecting the victims when these occurred, with such allies, 
it was inevitably the more humane side of their policy which failed. 5 

The number of Indians in Nova Scotia was small ; an itemized statement 
makes in 1721 the total number 289 (Isle Royale 36, Antigonish 48, Beaubassin 
47, Mines 58, La Have 60, Cap de Sable, 40). The following year, 7 however, 
in connection with a proposal made by Gaulin the missionary, to remove the 
Indians to that island in the Bras d'Or Lakes, which is still their rendezvous, 
the total number of savages bearing arms is spoken of as 265, and the entire 
Indian population as 838. It seems incredible that so small a number could 
have caused such widespread dismay among the English, and so seriously 

1 Jan. 22, 1722. 2 Sept. 9, 1715, I.R. vol. i, f. 336. 

3 B, vol. 54, t. 517. 4 March 11, 172-, I.R. B, 50. 

* Sec Journals of Mann and Boishebert. 6 I.R. vol. 5, Sept. 15, 1721. 

7 I.R. vol. 6, Dec. 2-, 1722. 


hampered their operations. In many cases the crew of a fishing vessel would 
have been as numerous as any of the bands which attacked them. It is to 
be expected that fishermen on shore would be at a disadvantage when attacked 
by savages skilled in the ways of forest warfare ; but it is surprising to find 
that the Indians of Nova Scotia were bold and skilful at sea. In the outbreak 
of 1722 the Indians captured trading vessels both in the Bay of Fundy and 
off the coast of Nova Scotia. 1 They then cruised on the Banks with the captured 
sloops, forcing the prisoners to serve as mariners. They threatened to attack 
Canso, and the fishermen were breaking up the fishery, when Colonel Phillips 
persuaded them to join him in fitting out two sloops, each with a detachment 
of troops. In the course of three weeks all the sloops and prisoners, with the 
exception of four, were recaptured. In one of these encounters fifteen Indians 
fought for two hours with Phillips' schooner manned by sixty men. Ten 
of the Indians escaped by swimming ashore. The heads of the other five were 
cut off and stuck on the pickets of the redoubt at Canso. 2 

In the next attack, 1725, which they made on Canso, after the first 
onslaught, the English armed a vessel to go in pursuit of the Indians who 
were cruising in two of their captures, in which they had taken eight or nine 
small fishing craft. In another case 3 they took an English schooner from 
Newfoundland and brought her back to Isle Royale, while from their establish- 
ment on the Bras d'Or Lakes they made annual excursions in open boats to 
the Magdalen Islands. The advantages to French industry of these raids 
is shown by the statement that the capture of one English fishing vessel off" 
Isle St. Jean by Indians 4 caused eighty others to leave its waters and return 
to Canso, and the view of Maurepas, that in this he saw no inconvenience, 
is easily understood. The success of the Indians against the fishermen of New 
England was probably the chief reason for the contempt for the military skill 
of the British colonists, expressed up to 1745 by the Louisbourg people. 

Disturbing as had been the exploit of Smart, its effects lasted longer in 
diplomatic circles than it did at its scene. The French returned, or possibly 
continued, to fish at Canso. In 1720 Young again visited that port, and says 
that there were ninety-six English and two hundred French fishermen off Canso. 
He then went to Louisbourg and saw St. Ovide, who said that he would prevent 
the French going, as contrary to the Treaty. At the same time it would seem 
evident that the fishing was held in common, for the English frequented Petit 
de Grat and other places on Isle Madame, 5 which was unquestionably French 
territory. But while the conditions were not different from those of 1718, the 
disturbance of the peace in 1720 came from the Indians. 

1 B.T.N.S. vol. 4, Phillips from Canso, September 19, 1722. 2 I.R. vol. 6, f. 22. 

3 I.R. vol. 7, f. 179. 4 B, 54, 517$. 8 B.T.N.S. vol. 3, f. 20. 


" On l the 8th of August 1720 the port of Canso was attacked by a body of Indians and 
some fifty or sixty French. About one or two in the morning the Indians sprang on the 
English fishermen, scarcely giving some of them time to put on their breeches, and making 
many prisoners, placed them in the house under guard. The remainder were driven into 
the boats and then the French stepped in and assisted. Everything was pillaged fish, 
goods, clothes, bedding and even pockets, the loss being said to amount to about ^18,000. 
The onset commenced at Capt. Richards' Island, which they made the place of rendezvous. 
The fishing vessels having assembled, one was manned to save Capt. Richards' ship, which 
was deemed in danger, but after firing on both sides she was forced to retire. 

" During this affair 2 Englishmen were shot dead in escaping to the boats, & one 
was drowned. At 2 in the afternoon a deputation went to Louisbourg to represent 
the grievance, but the Gov'r made light of it, saying any Fr. taken in the act sh'd 
make satisfaction, but was not responsible for the Indians. 

" In the mean time Capt. Richards had fitted out two small ships, in which he had 
pursued the assailants & captured six shallops with plunder on board & 15 Frenchmen. 
Two captured Indians said M. St. Ovide had encouraged them & ordered them to rob 
the settlem't. 

"One Prudent Robicheau, inhabitant of Annapolis, declared that a rumor had been 
current in St. Peters that the Indians would fall upon Canso some time in the summer 
& he had warned 2 Eng. masters bound to Canso. The firing at Canso was heard 
at St. Peters. He left that place in a shallop, with Father Vincent on board, on the gth 
of Aug., & met a shallop with Indians who boasted of having taken Canso & forced the 
fishermen off their boats, killing I and wounding 4. They had much plunder on board, 
Father Vincent rec'd presents from them & applauded their actions. The Indians stated 
that 70 Indians in 40 canoes had driven 500 men on to their ships. A master of one of 
the ships, being set on board his vessel, fired on the Indians & forced them to retire. 
They seized an Eng. shallop and took some of the plunder in her. 

"Not receiving any assistance from the Gov'r of Cape Breton, they sent Mr. Henshaw 
to Gov'r. Phillips, and five French prisoners with him. Mr. Henshaw returned with 
Arms and Ammunition & provisions, accompanied by Major Lawrence Armstrong. 
The latter was directed to go to Canso & take all necessary measures for restoration of 
peace & security. He was afterwards to proceed to C. Breton & deliver the letter to 
the Gov'r demanding restitution to the people & the arrest of the principal actors and 
their ships, until the decision of the two Courts can be received. To return with the 
Gov'r's answer, calling at Canso on the way. 

"Gov'r Phillips' Letter to M. St. Ovide, dated 2Qth Aug. 1720, acknowledged the 
receipt of St. Ovide's letter in reply to the deputation from Canso, and informed him 
that 5 Frenchmen had been captured with some of the Eng. plunder in their possession. 
From the depositions of these prisoners, copies of wh. are sent to him & also to the King 
of Gt. Britain, it is evident that the Fr. were not only the framers and promoters of the 
violation of the peace at Canso, but also the principal actors, the prisoners declaring they 
were ordered by their Masters, Philibert, Massey, &c., to pillage the Eng. goods, to 
load the shallops with them, with their Arms in their hands, powder & shot being 
distributed to the Natives as in a time of war. He stated that one Renaud had previously 

1 B.T.N.S. vol. 3. 


arranged the onslaught with the natives, & questions whether this could have been done 
without support from high authority. The Indians who took part had (all but four) 
come from Cape Breton, where the affair had been openly discussed for 3 mos. previously. 
He cannot credit the assertions of 2 Indian prisoners that Mr. St. Ovid was the one 
who encouraged them. Proofs of his desire to preserve the peace demanded his making 
full restitution for the losses at Canso, & due satisfaction made on the chief actors, who 
with their ships, &c., should be arrested & await the decision of the two courts." 1 

Armstrong went to Louisbourg, where, notwithstanding the peremptory 
tone of his demands, he was received with politeness. St. Ovide, with the 
action of Smart and the British authorities before him, was determined to 
show the " road of equity " to the English in this transaction. He sent 
De Pensens, who was accompanied by Armstrong, to Petit de Grat, where 
he examined the French who knew about the affair. It was proved by their 
evidence that the Indians were destroying the cod and other property, or 
giving it to them. Arquebel thought it only right to make good his losses 
through Smart, and therefore took cod. Two other men said the Indians 
forced them. Another man saw Indians destroying a good sail, asked for it 
and they gave it to him ; and still another had lost by the English in 1718. 
The property that had been taken was restored to Armstrong to the value 
of ^i6oo. 2 

As two years had elapsed since the first outrage at Canso, and it was 
still unatoned for, the English authorities were not in a position to notice 
this incident, 8 in which, granted the fact that the French had such allies as 
the Indians, the conduct of their local authorities was honourable, straight- 
forward, and the action that they took towards righting the wrong was all 
that could be expected of them. 

The view which St. Ovide wrote to the authorities at home as to the 
reason of the outbreak at this particular time was, that the Indians were 
incensed by British treatment of their brothers, the Acadians. On the face 
of it this does not seem probable. It receives some confirmation from Phillips, 
who reports with bitterness that Lieutenant Washington, one of his officers 
at Annapolis, went about saying that his severity to the Acadians brought 
on this attack. 4 

Phillips took prompt action. He sent in the autumn a company to 
remain at Canso all winter. These he reinforced the following year with 
two companies, built a small fort, which he armed with cannon borrowed 

1 B.T.N.S. vol. 4, Nov. 20, 1720. 

2 The Court approved this action of St. Ovide (B, vol. 44, f. 557, June 20, 1721}. 

3 The Commissioners of Trade, nevertheless, wrote to the Lords Justices, speaking of the Indian attack as 
reprisals by the French, and urged that restitution be demanded before satisfaction be given Mr. Hirriberry, the chief 
victim of Smart (B.T.N.S. vol. 31, Oct. 18, 1720). ' N.S. vol. 4, f. 7. 



from the vessels, and thereafter held the place, on the ground that it was 
necessary to protect the fishermen from Indian hostilities. He thus made 
Canso, on his own initiative, British territory. 

These events at Canso have been set forth in some detail, for they may 
be regarded as indicating with clearness the course of the future relations 
of the two peoples in North America, which culminated in the obliteration 
of French power. On the one hand, there was the commercial aspect ; the 
people of both nationalities engaged in the peaceful exploiting of the fisheries, 
which were so rich that both together had ample room, and indifferently used 
the harbours and waters which belonged to both Crowns. On the other hand, 
there is the action of the Governments ; that of Massachusetts, energetic and 
forceful, which took steps on false information, for the French were not on 
the mainland of Nova Scotia, and in the trouble which followed their action, 
an unscrupulous naval captain was vigorously supported by the Admiralty. 
On the French side one marks the leaning on the broken reed of English 
respect for the law of nations, and a supineness in considering an insult to 
the French flag in colonial waters as of little consequence. It is not to be 
wondered at that a writer : on French colonial policy, should have a chapter 
on the contempt for the colonies in the eighteenth century. The history of 
the French action at Canso would justify the heading of his chapter, as well 
as the matter he publishes therein. 

Again, no comment is necessary on the significance of the action of the 
officials. St. Ovide waited for instructions from the Court and supplies from 
France. Phillips, as ill -equipped as the French Governor, threw a garrison 
into Canso without waiting for instructions, and, without artillery, made those 
interested contribute guns from their vessels for its defence. These are 
examples of the working out of the two systems on which colonies were 
governed, quite as striking as any found elsewhere in the history of New 
England and New France. 

1 Schon, La Politiyue Csloniale. 


Louis XV. attained his majority on February 17, 1723. The policy of 
Du Bois, friendly to England, was succeeded by that of Fleury, more widely 
pacific. Many years of peace were unmarked by any incidents like that of 
Canso, which with a more spirited Minister would have led to action, the 
consequences of which might have been felt far beyond the confines of this 
little colony. 

The immediate effect on it of the King's majority was the substitution 
for the Navy Board of Maurepas as Minister of the Navy. To his hands, 
those of a young man of twenty-two, were entrusted the affairs of the vast 
colonial empire as well as the navies of France. 1 No striking change took 
place in Isle Royale in consequence of this change at Court. The definite 
selection of Louisbourg as the chief place of the colony had improved its 
position. Its population increased, but to a less degree than that of the 
outports. The growth was : 

Louisbourg. Other places. 

I7l8 . . . .568 815 

1720 . . 733 1181 
1723 . . 795 1102 
1726 .... 951 2180 

The number of places at which settlements were made also increased. . 
In 1718 outside of Louisbourg there were apparently only four places, while 
in 1726 there were settlements of more or less importance in thirteen other 
localities, the most important of which was Ninganiche (Ingonish), which did 
not exist in 1720* but in 1726 was much larger than any other place, except 
Louisbourg, and put out more than twice as many fishing-boats as that port. 
Four years later the number of settlements was eighteen. While Ingonish 
was a successful competitor in fishing, in general commerce which employed 
larger vessels Louisbourg quite surpassed any of the outports or, indeed, all 
of them together. Of the sixty-one vessels which came from France in 1726, 

1 For the character of Maurepas see Chap. XV. 2 G 1 , 467. 


7 2 PIRATES ON THE COAST 1720-1726 

thirty-nine came thither ; of fifty-seven from Canada, the West Indies, New 
England, and Nova Scotia, all came to the port of Louisbourg. 1 

During these years, Isle Royale, like the northern colonies of Britain, 
suffered from the ravages inflicted by pirates on the commerce of the high 
seas. The increase in the number of these freebooters, brought about by 
the disbanding of the men-of-war's men after the Peace of Utrecht, produced 
its effects in these waters. It will be remembered that, as evidence of the sad 
condition of Louisbourg in 1715, St. Ovide feared that after the leaving of 
the King's ships it would lie defenceless to the attacks of pirates. 

In the autumn of 1721 the authorities at Louisbourg were dismayed 
to find that in the town there was no powder or shot, when the pirates were 
on the coast, and the inhabitants were so badly armed that St. Ovide drew 
the attention of the authorities to their state. Their condition, in the face 
of what was real danger, apparently led them to tempt the soldiers to sell 
their muskets, which the authorities punished with a fine of 200 1. The 
following year Phillips sent an officer to warn the authorities that a pirate 
brigantine and schooner were on the eastern coast of Acadia, and had taken 
ten or twelve vessels. 2 A vessel of St. Malo on the coast of Isle Royale was 
taken by a pirate schooner, her rigging destroyed, her yards broken, and she 
was ordered to return to France. She reached Scatari after sixteen days, and 
reported the outrage to the authorities at Louisbourg. Further havoc was 
done by a vessel of seventy or eighty tons, eight cannon, sixteen swivels, and 
one hundred and fifty men. In 1720 the ship of Captain Carey, from London 
to Boston, near the Grand Banks, was plundered by a pirate of twenty-six 
guns with a consort of ten. The loss was 8000. Carey brought in the 
report that they had destroyed the Newfoundland fishery. 8 

So serious was the menace that Bourville, acting Governor after St. Ovide 
had left for France in 1721, found it necessary to fortify Louisbourg, a town 
of a thousand people, with a garrison of three hundred against an attack by 
pirates. 4 He mounted seven large guns of twenty-four pounds on the island, 
seven near the fortifications, and six at the ancient fort, the site of the first 

Throughout this period, apparently some of the freebooters, whose names 
have been preserved to history, and throw a lurid glare over modern fiction, 
left the richer commerce of the West Indies to come northwards to plunder on 
the coasts of New England, Acadia, and Isle Royale. The force of some of 
those vessels was so great that it could not have been sent out by the other 

1 Its people alto owned most of the vessels used for coasting. 2 I.R. vol. 6, p. 22. 

1 Shute to the Lords of Trade, Boston, August 19. C.O. 5/868. 
4 Bourville had become Kin? Lieutenant in succession to de Beaucours. 


pirates who also preyed on this commerce. These were outlaws largely from 
English fishing vessels frequenting the coasts of Newfoundland, who had been 
turned adrift for insubordination or drunkenness, or had deserted on account 
of low wages and poor fare. Their head-quarters were at Cape Ray. While 
possibly the majority of them were English, their rendezvous received accessions 
from the French and became the " cave of Adullam " of these coasts. Fisher- 
men stole the boats and gear of their masters, notably from Ingonish. De 
Mezy's exalted position did not prevent one of his boats being stolen from 
under his windows. All such malefactors joined the outlaws. They plundered 
vessels on the Grand Banks and on the coasts of Newfoundland. Although the 
site of their settlement was known, and the British Government sent out regu- 

' D 

larly vessels to protect its commerce against the pirates, and a joint French and 
English expedition was contemplated, no steps were taken to break it up. 
Throughout the whole period of Louisbourg's history, while the freebooters 
in its immediate neighbourhood disappeared, both French and English men-of- 
war visited the fishermen on the Grand Banks, for the purpose of protecting 
them from pirates. 1 

The incident which marked these years was a shipwreck which de Mezy 
described as the most frightful which he had known in the five and thirty years 
of his seafaring life. 2 

The rock-bound coast of Isle Royale is, to the eastward of Louisbourg, 
free for some distance from outlying dangers. Near Cape Breton, its eastern 
extremity, currents, which are at times impetuous, rush round the low island of 
Porto Nova and other rocks and shoals, and so make impossible a safe approach 
to this shore. 3 At this time, August 1725, the inhabitants of these hamlets, 
some six or eight score, most of whom were at Baleine, took refuge before 
nightfall of the 25th, in their rude huts ("cabannes"), from an east-south-east gale 
which blew furiously on this coast, the steep-pitched beaches of which mark 
the force of the seas. It was ten the next morning before any of them ventured 
out, and they found in the sea-wrack on the shore the wreckage of a large vessel. 
Among it were pulleys marked with fleur de lys y which, when this news was 
brought to Louisbourg on the following day, the 27th, indicated to the 
authorities that a King's ship had been lost near Baleine. De Mezy himself, 
de Bourville, Major of the troops, and Sabatier the Comptroller, at once set 

1 The lesser value of the commerce of the North made it unnecessary for the pirates to obtain a foothold on this 
coast, although at more than one place in Nova Scotia and Cape Breton are legends of the buried treasure of Captain 
Kidd. Rhode Island is the most northern of the colonies whose officials and citizens were accused of complicity in this 
piracy ; the French certainly had no share in it. See Weeden, passim, Channing, vol. ii. 

2 The intimate connection of colonial administration with the Navy is shown in his expression in writing to a 
minister who knew his record, " depuis trente cinq ans que je vais a la mer," although in many of these years he served 
in the colonies. 

3 The small harbours of Grand and Petit Lorambec, and Baleine, afford shelter to only smaller craft. 


out. They found along the coast, from Grand Lorambec to Baleine, the beach 
strewn with wreckage, among which was the figure-head which identified the 
vessel as the Chameau> which, under command of M. de St. James, was carrying 
supplies, money, and dispatches, together with a distinguished passenger list, to 
(Quebec. The first bodies found were those of Chazel, the newly appointed 
Intendant of Canada; the ship's pilot, Chointeau, and one which they believed 
was that of young de Lages, son of de Ramezay, Governor of Montreal. Papers 
came ashore, among them the patent of Chazel. These victims were but the 
forerunners of many. In two days, forty more were found by men of the 
three detachments which had been promptly formed to make salvage of what 
came ashore. The wreck was indeed complete ; the ill-fated ship, evidently 
under sail, had been carried over the outlying reefs. She at once broke up ; 
part of her starboard side came ashore with the main mast and its rigging ; 
another part of the same side with the mizzen mast was found nearly a mile 
farther along the coast. The suddenness of the disaster was made evident by 
the fact that most of the bodies were undressed. The fury of the sea was shown 
by the fact that from the live stock carried on her, not even a pig came ashore 
alive ; " les cochons mesmes qui nagent si bien sont venus morts a la coste." 
Among the victims who were recognized were two officers of Canada, de 
Morrion and Pachot, but if L'Hermitte's body was found it was not identified, 
and De Pensens, who was at one time thought to be on board, had not sailed. 
The missionary priest at Baleine buried one hundred and eighty ; the total loss 
was three hundred and ten. 

The authorities acted with effectiveness in this disaster. They advised 
those of Quebec, and arranged to lend them ammunition and money from the 
Louisbourg supplies which were coming on the Dromedary. There was no sign 
of the after part of the ship having come ashore, so it was hoped that some 
salvage might be made of her guns and treasure, particularly as the rock on 
which she broke up was covered at low tide by only a few feet of water. De- 
tachments were kept posted along the shore to save what wreckage they could, 
their men being promised a share of whatever was found. The next season 
some soldiers who were skilful divers were sent from Quebec and were employed 
at the wreck. They were in charge of Sabatier and of young Le Normant, 
then acting as clerk under his father. They lodged in an abandoned house of 
Carrerrot, a merchant of Louisbourg. It was roofless, except for one room. 
It had been occupied by his sister, Madame La Salle, a sprightly lady to whose 
attractions Le Normant lightly refers, and to whom he and Sabatier sent a 
message of esteem and gratitude in his letter to u Monsieur mon tres cher Pere." 
Morpain conducted the actual operations, which were carried on in September, 
Le Normant whiling away his spare time by shooting when bad weather inter- 


rupted the work. He sent to his father the game which he got, and in his last 
letter from Baleine ends his requisition for supplies with " five or six days of 
good weather or an order to return." The latter came in due course. No 
more striking contrast in circumstances is connected with Louisbourg than that 
between young Le Normant in Baleine and Le Normant at the head of the Navy 
in attendance on the King, and belonging to the party of Madame de Pompadour. 1 
Further search was abandoned, but the wreck left its mark on the colony, 
although no one connected with it was lost, for almost the latest French maps 
mark, on the bleak shore of the cove, the cemetery of those of its victims 
which the sea gave up. It lived in the memory of the French of Isle Royale 
as the August gale of 1873 is still before the people of Cape Breton, and when 
two heavy gales in November 1726 swept Louisbourg with great damage, it 
was vividly recalled to its people. 

Isle Royale was at this time, thirteen years after its foundation, described as 
a colony beginning to be considerable. Its commerce with the West Indies had 
by 1726 become important, as had its trade with France and Quebec. Its 
principal export, after fish, was its coal, followed in value by furs gathered at 
Louisbourg from Nova Scotia. 

The trade suffered from a scarcity of ready money not seriously felt within 
the colony, but for example making trade difficult with Quebec, whither the 
merchants of Louisbourg had to send cash to pay the duties on goods they 
exported to Canada. 

The regulations which in the earliest stage governed trade between France 
and her colonies, established by the Edict of 1716, were irksome. Vessels could 
sail for the colonies from only a few of the ports of France. 2 Bonds had to be 
given that they would return to the port of departure. 3 The destination had to 
be named before leaving, and a certificate produced, after the round voyage was 
finished, that the vessel had been at the port named. This restricted freedom in 
seeking markets, and in taking advantage of the triangular trade, which for so 
long was the normal course of shipping between Europe and America. This 
was modified by an edict in October 1727,* which provided that no foreign 
product, except Irish salt beef loaded at a port of France, should be admitted to 
Canada or the West Indies, and that none of their products should go directly 
to a foreign country, with the exception of refined sugars to Spain. Foreign 

1 The value, about 6000 1., of the salvage from the Chameau was trifling, although she had on board 289,696 1. in 
cash, for the expenses of Canada (I.R. B, vol. 48, f. 862). 

2 e.g. Sables d'Olonne then a fishing port, not, as now, a watering-place, had to apply to the Conseil de Commerce 
for this privilege. Previously to its being granted its outfitters had to pay local imposts on the goods they sent out, which 
they brought to their port from Bordeaux (Arch. Nat. F, 12, vol. 75). 

3 Dugard Le Vieux of Rouen was hampered by this regulation, which was modified on his application. The Conseil 
generally decided in favour of freedom of trade (Arch. Nat. F, 12, vol. 87). 

4 Isambert, Recueil, vol. 26. 


vessels were not permitted to enter a port in the colonies nor come within a 
league of them, under penalty of confiscation, and a fine of loool. Officers 
were ordered to seek them out, and men-of-war and privateers to capture 
foreigners or French vessels engaged in illicit commerce. An elaborate scale of 
division of the proceeds of such confiscation was established, the only relaxation 
on humanitarian ground of the stringency of these regulations being that a 
vessel in distress could take refuge only in a port where there was a garrison. 

A later chapter l deals with the lack of balance of the trade which centred 
at Louisbourg. The defiance or ignoring of the regulations made by distant 
authorities, enforced in many cases by officials who had a personal interest in 
illicit trade, was as important a factor in the economic conditions as official 

If the margin of profit is adequate, any trade will be carried on in defiance 
of law. Vessels from the British colonies had been permitted to come to Isle 
Royale from time to time, until, under pressure of necessity in 1726, a pro- 
clamation was issued permitting the importation from them of building 
materials, live cattle, poultry, etc., but prohibiting everything else. 2 This opened 
one door, for the returns of the permitted vessels would indicate that none of 
them carried full cargoes, the balance of their lading would be contraband goods. 
Others apparently depended on corruption, and made no colour of being on a 
legitimate voyage. We have the record of an agreement made in 1724 at Boston 
between three merchants, " Johonnot," P. Evarts, Hough, and one Pierre 
Grouard, who undertook to sell the lading of the schooner Hirondelle and 
purchase a cargo of fish and bring back in money or taffetas 3 any balance for a 
commission of 6 per cent. The Hirondelle was seized at Rimouski, suspected 
of spying. Grouard and others were imprisoned, and were the occasion of 
charges of official improprieties, and a conflict of jurisdiction. 4 While this cargo 
went to the Gulf of the St. Lawrence there is no reason to believe that a similar 
method of doing business was not carried on with Louisbourg, and that the 
merchants named were the only ones in Boston who conducted trade with the 
French colonies in this fashion. The ledger of one of the most important of 
them, Mr. Faneuil, contains may entries of transactions with merchants of Louis- 
bourg. The evidence of Newton, the collector of Customs at Canso, makes this 
reasonably certain, fori in no year during the period under consideration did the 
number of vessels declared as from British ports come to as many as he says was 
the normal number. He wrote, as follows, in speaking of eighteen vessels then 
in that port : 

"They will without any Restraint Load and carry from thence to several Ports in his 

1 Chap. XII. 2 ,- 2S> I.R. vol. 10, f. 4. 

3 This is so printed. It unquestionably means taffin (rum). * MSS. J)ue. vol. 3, p. 106, and B. 48 (Canada). 



Majtys Plantations, Brandy, Wine, Iron, Sail Cloth, Rum, Molasses & several other 
French Commoditys with which there is from 80 to 90 Sail generally Load with in a Year, 
these Vessels generally carry Lumber, Bricks & live stock there, they commonly clear 
out for Newfoundland, tho never design to go farther than Lewisburg, often they sell their 
vessels as well as Cargoes." 

The prosperous farmers of Nova Scotia shared in a simple way in trade with 
Louisbourg. Their shipments were made mostly from Baie Verte on the Gulf 
coast, although there are instances of vessels of ten tons making the long voyage 
from the Bay of Fundy to Louisbourg. Ordinarily they were not interfered 
with, and Verville's theory that the Acadians were of more value to Isle Royale 
where they were, than if they had migrated, was borne out. At times Armstrong, 
then in charge of Nova Scotia, attempted to stop this intercourse, and on one 
occasion his reply to St. Ovide being unsatisfactory, de Pensens was sent to him 
to declare that they would arm a ship to prevent him making seizures on the 
high seas. He desisted in face of this threat, which would have been proved, in 
the contrary case, to have been empty, for Maurepas refused permission to fit 
out this vessel. 1 

The entrep6t which should flourish by freedom of exchange, foreseen by 
Raudot, was struggling with the enactments of its rulers to come into existence. 
The furniture and axes 2 which New England sent there, the winnowing machines 
with which Louisbourg supplied Quebec, the rum and molasses, the sail cloth and 
iron she exported to the British colonies, none of them her own production, 
indicate his sureness of judgment as to the proper foundation for a flourishing 
colony situated on Isle Royale. The scanty records of the trade which are 
available make tenable the hypothesis that had the civil population of Louisbourg 
been left untrammelled to develop its commercial possibilities, it would have been 
so prosperous and populous an establishment that its later history would have 
been entirely different. 

Raudot's views were as far in advance of his time as was the commercial 
Treaty of Utrecht, the provisions of which waited until the younger Pitt in 1787 
forced them through an unwilling House of Commons. Maurepas' objections 
to this trade were held in common with all his contemporaries, and the ineffective- 
ness of his opposition was probably owing to his lack of force rather than a 
philosophic acquiescence in a state of affairs which was theoretically wrong, but 
practically extremely profitable. In at least one instance he connived in it. 
When Ste. Marie was pressing, in 1724, for repayment of his expenses, 1893 1., 
incurred in 1718-19 in visiting Boston, Maurepas wrote to St. Ovide that 
Ste. Marie brought back goods presumably to sell, and rejected the claim. 3 

In the earlier days of the colony the merchants of France objected to it, for 

1 I.R. vol. 8. 2 1 100 in 1740. 8 I.R. vol. 39, B, vol. 48, f. 716. 

7 8 LOCAL PROTESTS 1728-1738 

their chief business was the sale of commodities to the new settlers, later they 
were silent on the subject. The merchants of Louisbourg objected from time 
to time, notably in 1728, and again ten years later. On the former occasion St. 
Ovide was accused with full details of carrying on this trade through De Pensens, 
under the names of Dacarette and Lartigue. It appeared as if Maurepas intended 
to take some action, for he wrote to De Mezy sending a list of questions about 
the trade, with the assurance that his reply would be confidential, so that he 
might not be restrained by the fear of incriminating St. Ovide. 1 De Mezy replied 
on the 3<Dth of November and the 2nd of December, in some fashion which was 
satisfactory to the Minister. His replies unfortunately are not extant. St. Ovide 
contented himself with a short denial. 

In 1738 an anonymous letter was forwarded to the Minister on this com- 
merce and its abuses. 2 It was followed by a new attack against Du Vivier which 
goes into detail. It says he bought the cargoes of two French vessels which he 
resold ; that he took a cargo of molasses which he sent to Boston in partnership 
with Faneuil, who had traded with Louisbourg through one Morel ; that they 
took money from the country, as they sold for cash ; that they put in quarantine 
a vessel from Martinique on account of small-pox, because two vessels of Du 
Vivier arrived shortly afterwards ; that Du Vivier forestalled the market by 
having early news from Quebec ; and they did not hesitate to say that Le 
Normant was interested in Du Vivier's transactions ; and that they enriched 
themselves by taking provisions from the King's stores in the autumn, selling 
them at a high price, and replacing them the following year when they 
were cheap. 

But however the trade was carried on, it was unquestionably large, profitable, 
and essential to Isle Royale. The real complaint of its merchants was of the 
competition of military and civil officials, whose influence and command of 
information gave them great advantages. The only people to suffer were the 
Admiralty officials, who found their confiscations overruled by the Governor and 
the Commissaire-Ordonnateur. Ship-owners benefited by full cargoes. None 
of them were placed at a disadvantage except vessels with letters of marque, which, 
relying on the edict of 1727, made these captures. 

In trade, like the fishing at Canso before the incursion of Smart, all things 
were peaceable and quiet, the French and English in defiance of the laws trading 
" together in all amity and love," a happier state than in the West Indies, where 
mutual savagery brought on the war between England and Spain. But the 
protests of Mr. Newton to his Government, the prohibition of Maurepas to his 
officials, both disregarded, caused less irritation than the guarda costas and the 
pirates of Jamaica. Thus prohibited trade in Northern waters led to a friendly 

1 I.R. B, 52, f. 605, 60-. - I.R. vol. 20, f. 311. See Appendix. 

1728-1738 THE LIGHTHOUSE 79 

intercourse between Isle Royale and the sea-ports of the Puritans, not to mutila- 
tions which inflamed against the Spaniard both the humanity and the patriotism 
of England. 1 

The fishermen had in the earliest times placed on the knoll of the eastern side of 
the harbour a beacon to serve as a guide to its entrance. This proved unsatisfactory 
as the commerce of the port grew, and it was visited by other ships than those of 
its ordinary trade. The first foreign ship, other than English, which visited the 
port, was the Spaniard, Nostra Signora de la Toledo^ homeward bound from 
Havana. 2 Three years later the Mercury, a ship of the French East India 
Company, came into Louisbourg with sixty men ill of scurvy, who in the pure 
air of Isle Royale soon became convalescent. When the project for a lighthouse, 
to take the place of the beacon, was seriously considered, the difficulty of landing 
coal for its fire was an objection to the best site. The home authorities proposed 
on this account placing the light on the clock tower of the citadel, but this 
project was fortunately abandoned, and the lighthouse was erected on the eastern 
side of the harbour, where its ruins are still to be seen. It was first lit in 1734, 
and the statement is that it was visible for six leagues at sea. It was burned on 
the night of the nth of September 1736, but was immediately rebuilt of fire- 
proof materials. 3 

St. Ovide and De Mezy acted in harmony in only one matter their efforts 
to restrict the excessive consumption of intoxicants. Although De Mezy was 
effective in the steps taken in connection with the Chameau, the laxity of 
administration in his department shortly thereafter became evident, through the 
death of Des Goutins the Treasurer. St. Ovide insisted on having particulars 
of De Mezy's accounts, which he was asked to approve, and of verifying the 
contents of the Treasurer's chest. It was found empty. Nevertheless, De Mezy 
took offence at what he considered an interference with his rights. He took 
high ground in writing to the Minister. He expressed his extreme repugnance, 
after " thirty-seven years of service, to submitting his documents to a naval 
officer, who, although meritorious and of easy intercourse, has neither the 
experience, nor other qualities superior to his in a matter concerning my 
administration." 4 

Maurepas did not accept his views, but replied that he was wrong in putting 
the blame on Des Goutins when his own accounts should have been better 

1 Camb. History, vol. vi. p. 24. 2 August 10, 1726. 

3 In the new lighthouse the light was supplied from forty-five " pots " (about twenty-two and a half gallons of oil), 
fed through thirty-one pipes in a copper circle to the wicks which gave the flame. As this oil was held in an open bronze 
basin, three feet in diameter, and ten inches deep, there was constant danger of fire. This was provided against by 
sustaining this ring on pieces of cork, which, if fire took place, would burn through and let the ring fall into the oil where 
it would be extinguished. No wood was used in the construction of the tower. 

4 " A un officer de guerre qui quoique homme de merite, et de tres bonne societe, n'a ni 1'usage, ni les services, ni 
autres qualites superieures a moi dans une affaire de mon ministere " (vol. 9, Nov. 24, 1727). 


kept. 1 De Mezy admitted that his books were not in perfect order, his excuse 
being that the entire financial business for the year was transacted in the fortnight 
following the arrival of the King's ship with remittances. He further excused 
himself by saying that the records were in extremely bad order when he came to 
the colony, and that it had taken them some time to correct them. This is borne 
out by the documents themselves. By 1724 they are much fuller, and on the 
surface appear more accurate than in the earlier years of the colony. 

But the disregard of instructions was evident in more serious ways than 
book-keeping. De Mezy admitted having disobeyed orders about rations, not 
without justification, for he says he had given food from the King's stores to 
four widows who were destitute, but that hereafter he would execute orders 
without mercy. Without any charge having been made against him, he assures 
the Minister that the only funds he can touch are those of the extraordinary 
expenditures 15,000 or 20,000 livres. He was largely responsible for so 
important an edict as that of October 1727, in reference to Colonial Trade, not 
being registered or put in force in Louisbourg until October I73O. 2 Other 
tangible evidence of neglect of royal instructions was before the eyes of all. An 
ordinance had been passed establishing the width of the quay, and another 
forbidding building within 350 toises of the fortifications, yet in a few years 
one cronier had built a stone house within the prohibited distance, and there 
were also encroachments on the quay. This took place in so small a town that 
from any point on the ramparts every house could be seen. That the infraction 
of regulations, presumably important, could go so far under the eyes of the 
Governor, the Commissaire-Ordonnateur, and the Engineer, that it required 
ministerial action to stop it, illustrates the weakness of the system on which the 
French attempted to administer their colonial empire. 

Whether the complaints of the Minister against De Mezy, founded on 
these irregularities and his quarrels with St. Ovide, led to the change in his 
department, which was determined on by Maurepas, is uncertain. De Mezy 
had completed about forty years in the King's service, and when St. Ovide 
heard that he was to be succeeded he wrote to the Minister, saying that he 
trusted he would select a new Commissaire-Ordonnateur of a gentle disposition, 
with whom the merchants and people could carry on business in comfort. 3 The 
favourable impression the younger De Mezy (usually known as Le Normant) 
had made, or possibly family influence, led to his succeeding his father. 4 He 
had been in the colony during the greater part of his father's tenure of office, 
employed first as a subordinate, and then as principal clerk, and during his 

1 R, vols. 52 and 53. B, 55/5-0. 3 I.R. vol. 12, Nov. 25, 1731. 

4 The De Mczys were of the family of that Le Normant who was the husband of Madame de Pompadour, and at 
a Fcrmicr-Gencral had great influence before she rose to power. Oct. 8, 1733 is the date on which young Le Normant 
wrote to Mnurepas his thanks. The official appointments were made March 23, 1735. 


father's leave of absence had in his place administered the office. He was 
therefore well fitted by experience for the position. But he began his admini- 
stration with the same quarrels with St. Ovide as had disturbed the relations 
between the Governor and his father, and in one of his first important acts 
he displayed a lack of judgment which seriously imperilled the well-being of 
the colony. 

In 1732 the Ruby came into port with small-pox on board. Although from 
time to time there had been regulations establishing a quarantine, once against the 
plague which raged in Toulon and Marseilles, and at another against a pest in 
Boston, at this time no precautions were taken, or if taken were ineffective. 

The disease spread throughout the colony and many of all ages died, not 
only sailors and passengers of the ill-fated ship, but residents of the colony and 
soldiers of its garrison. The ship, however, proceeded to Quebec, leaving those 
who were sick on shore, replacing them by sailors taken from the merchant's 
vessels. Further misfortune followed the survivors, who late in the year were 
shipped to Quebec on a brigantine which was wrecked at Ingonish. This 
epidemic was followed by a famine, the cause of which Le Normant explained 
by the method by which the inhabitants supplied themselves. The earliest 
vessels to arrive were those of the Basque ports. Their captains lent the 
provisions of their large crews to the inhabitants. These people counted on 
returning them by purchases from the provisions brought from Canada. If this 
supply was short, it had for the greater part to be utilized in returning these 
borrowings, which the Basques required for their homeward voyage, instead of 
being retained by the inhabitants for consumption during the winter. 1 While 
the Quebec vessels were there in the summer the inhabitants, Jiving on their 
borrowings, offered only meagre prices, and therefore, De Mezy said, fewer 
vessels came from Quebec. 2 This condition was aggravated, as the Quebec 
authorities explain, by a local regulation that Quebec vessels should not leave 
port without selling their cargoes. But whatever were the causes the situation 
was most serious in the autumn of I733, 3 and with an optimism for which no 
grounds are shown, Le Normant delayed action. St. Ovide changed from 
the devotee of Costebelle's description, or justified by the gravity of the situation, 
says he trusted Providence less than Le Normant ; but it was not until St. 
Ovide declared that he would send a vessel to the Minister with a statement of 
their condition, brought about by Le Normant's refusal to supply funds to 
purchase supplies in New York, that the latter consented to take action. 4 Two 

1 I.R. vol. 14, f. 175. 2 This is not borne out by the officials' returns which are available. 

8 I.R. vol. 14, f. 126. 

4 " De vous seul monsieur depend aujourd'huy la conservation ou la perte de cette colonie, que j'alois faire embarquer 
un officier le lendemain sur un bailment qui devait partir pour France a fin d'informer Mgr." (Nov. 14, 1733, vol. 14, 
f. 77). 



small vessels, under charge of De Cannes and Bonnaventure, were sent late in 
the year for these supplies, New York being chosen in preference to Boston, 
where the plague had recently existed, but they did not return before spring, 
and the colony passed a winter in want, mitigated only by the opportune arrival 
of one vessel from Quebec and one from New England. 

In 1734, at the beginning of the outbreak of war between France and the 
Emperor, the unsettled affairs on the continent gave rise to rumours of war 
with England, and St. Ovide took up the question of their relations with the 
New England colonies. He points out in a letter in cipher l to the Minister 
that the English, particularly those of New England, dislike the existence of Isle 
Royale as a French colony. He dwells on the necessity of being advised early 
of the outbreak of war, as it is important to take the offensive. In another 
letter he lays before the Minister the steps which they propose to take to protect 
themselves, which were to complete the fortifications between the citadel and 
the Dauphin battery, which, although projected from the first had not yet been 
carried out, and to protect, by chevaux de frise y the quay where a landing from 
boats could be made. He then gives his opinion of what might occur ; which 
was, that if England made an attack on Louisbourg it would be by New 
England militiamen, of whom he had not a high opinion ; that they would be 
supported by English men-of-war, and that they would come very early in the 
year in order to prevent the fishermen from France, or vessels of force from 
entering Louisbourg ; that they would not make their base at Port Dauphin or 
Baie des Espagnols as apparently some thought, as these points were too distant, 
but that the landing would be made in Gabarus or Mir bays. His plan of 
campaign, if the King intends the offensive, with all its advantages, is that two 
men-of-war and a frigate should be sent early in the year with four or five new 
companies for the garrison and six hundred regular troops and munitions of 
war. These, with volunteers from Louisbourg and Indians would make adequate 
force to take Annapolis Royal, if secrecy and celerity could be attained. He 
points out, notwithstanding the previous views he had expressed to the Minister, 
that the Acadians were not to be depended on. He informs him that Annapolis 
Royal 2 is in a wretched condition, a statement quite within the bounds of truth, 
and that the English in Canso are in such a poor condition that its commander 
has instructions to abandon the port at the outbreak of war. He intended 
further to supplement the force with the forty men of the garrison of Isle St. 
Jean, and the Indians of that island. He also assured the Minister that not 
only Placentia, but Boston, would easily fall before such an expedition. He 

1 Letters of St. O. to Minister, in particular Oct. 28, 1734 (I.R. vol. 15). 

2 The garrison of Annapolis and Canso was nine companies : 360 officers and men, five at Annapolis, four at Canto 
(1734, B.T.N.S. vol. 33, f. 361). "Canso lies naked and defenceless" (1734^ A. & W.I. vol. 30). Kilby says Canso 
is so ill-prepared that 100 men could capture it in one hour (1743, A. & W.I. vol. 594). 


followed this by a second letter, saying that twenty companies are necessary, 
part of whom should be commanded by local officers ; repeated earnestly his 
request for munitions ; and referring to his forty-five years of service, said to 
the Minister that the experience of the past made him fear for the future. 

These representations, made ten years before the war broke out, so accurately 
forecast the course of events, that St. Ovide in 1745 might, with a sad satisfac- 
tion, have recalled to his associates the predictions which he made at this time. 
St. Ovide hoped, if there was no war, that in the troubled conditions France 
might again get possession of Acadia by exchange, for it would be of infinite 
importance to France. He based this hope on the indifference to Nova Scotia 
of the English Government, as shown by the continuous neglect of that pro- 
vince from 1710, the year of its capture, to 1734, the time of his writing in this 

General matters of defence probably engaged the attention of the French 
authorities at this time. Chaussegros de Lery combated an idea, which he says 
was prevalent in France, that Louisbourg was the highway " le boulevard " to 
Quebec and Canada. He said that a naval expedition against Canada would 
require three squadrons, and that Quebec was more vulnerable by way of the 
woods. Were it not for the general policy of France in relation to her colonies 
during this period, it might be thought that the views of Chaussegros had more 
weight with the Minister than those of St. Ovide and his successors. 

In 1737 the colony again suffered from famine, but affairs had so far 
adjusted themselves that St. Ovide was able to go to France in the autumn of 
1738, leaving, as before, the government in the hands of De Bourvilie, while 
Sabatier discharged the duties of Le Normant de Mezy, who was promoted to 
the Intendancy of St. Dominique, as the first step towards the highest position in 
the administration of the navy. (As Intendant-General he was practically joint 
Minister for the few months in which Massiac held the portfolio.) l 

St. Ovide does not seem to have thought that he would not return to Isle 
Royale. Not long before that he had obtained a large grant at the head of the 
harbour, and more recently a splendid tract of land on the Mire River. 2 In the 
ordinary course of business, after his arrival in France, he wrote to the Minister 
about an increase in that garrison, and Maurepas in January said that he would await 
his suggestions before dealing with the question of promotions. 3 But between this 
time and March the Minister had taken a more hostile and determined attitude 
than he had yet shown. St. Ovide went, or was summoned, to Versailles, and 
had a painful interview with Maurepas, who charged him with many faults. The 
Minister told him that he was acquainted with a transaction in which, it was 
said, that as far back as 1725 St. Ovide had a pecuniary interest in Ganet's 

1 La Cour-Gayet, pp. 211-217. a 1737, B, 65, 451. 3 B, 68, f. i. 


contract for the fortifications. 1 St. Ovide admitted that the offer of a share had 
been made to him, but declared that he had declined it. He said the sworn 
testimony of two survivors of the transaction, Daligrand, a merchant of the 
town, and Ganet, the contractor, would bear out his statement. De Pensens, who 
was alleged to be his partner, had died, and the incident had become public 
through a clause in his will. The Minister does not seem to have been con- 
vinced by his explanations. The charges have this much prima facie evidence in 
their support, that it was through De Pensens, St. Ovide was said, in the 
accusations of 1728, to have carried on his illicit trading. 2 No further steps 
were taken, and St. Ovide, bearing his wounds? and the burden of his forty- 
seven years of service, was permitted to retire with a pension of 3000 livres. 

As a civil administrator he had little success, but the evils of his administra- 
tion seemed to be as much due to the lack of discipline and inspection as to the 
personal faults of the man. His quarrels with both De Mezys, his slackness at 
the time of Smart's attack at Canso, the reiterated reports, some of them circum- 
stantial, which were made of his complicity in illegal trade, were, beyond occasional 
reproofs and exhortations to amend his ways, ignored by Maurepas. During the 
whole period no report by an independent person seems to have been made on 
the condition of the colony. Those familiar with affairs can well picture the 
slackness and abuses which would exist in a distant establishment, uninspected 
for nearly a generation, from which no report of irregularity received more than 
a rebuke from the central administration. This laxity is the more astonishing as 
both the colonies and the navy were under the direction of Maurepas, and 
although the correspondence contains remarks on Louisbourg in the reports of 
the voyages 4 there is nothing to show that the Minister ever sought information as 
to conditions in the colonies from the captains of the ships he annually sent out. 
Whether this slackness was the result of indifference, incompetence, or hopeless- 
ness, the results were a demoralized administration and a stunted development. 

1 St. Ovide, April 4, vol. 21, p. 290. 2 B, 52, f. 605. Cf. Appendix. 

1 Thcc wounds were a shattered shoulder-blade received in an attack on St. John's, Newfoundland, and three others 
received in action. 4 Arch. Nat. Marine, B 4 . 


THE connection of St. Ovide with Isle Royale began when he landed with the 
one hundred and forty founders of Louisbourg in 1713. Four years later he 
became its Governor. By the time of his retirement he had seen most of the 
little harbours along the coast become fishing establishments, and the civil 
population of the island grow to something over thirty-eight hundred, and the 
commerce, which had begun with the few vessels which the people of Placentia 
had brought with them, increase to a fleet of great importance. In 1738 seventy- 
three vessels came from France, forty-two from New England and Acadia, and 
twenty-nine from Canada and the West Indies. At the latter date some fifty- 
four vessels of the inhabitants were engaged in coasting and trading, besides sixty 
odd schooners and one hundred fishing-boats which pursued the staple industry 
of the coast, cod-fishing. The value of this industry was about 3,000,000 livres, 
and the overseas commerce of the island, one year with another, was about an 
equal amount. Shipbuilding was established in the island and was carried on on 
the Mire as well as at Louisbourg, although many vessels were brought from New 
England. A little later the British authorities complained that " in the fall, 
after the British guard-ship has left Canso, the French go to Pictou, build vessels, 
and cut some of the finest mast timber in the world and take it to Louisbourg in 
the early spring." l 

The project of fortifications as originally laid down was finished. Beginning 
at the water front on the harbour side, the Dauphin bastion and spur protected 
the principal approach to the town, and swept the water front of the harbour. 
Between it and the King's bastion ran an ascending curtain wall to the height on 
which the citadel was placed. Across its opening on the town side stood a 
stately stone building, the Chateau St. Louis, of four stories with slated roof. 
The only entrance was across a draw-bridge thus described by a New England 
observer : 

" The entrance is by a large gate over which is a draw-bridge over a small ditch through 
the whole building, in passing which on the left hand the door opens into a King's 

1 C.O. y/. Cf. Appendix. 


Chappell, on the right hand into a dungeon, one of which has a greater resemblance of 
Hell than the other of Heaven." l 

The Citadel contained, on the southern side, the apartments of the 
Governor and the King's Chapel, which served as parish church ; the other 
half was occupied by the barracks. The whole work was the Bastion du Roy, 
the centre of the system of fortification. Between this and the sea coast were 
the Queen's bastion and the Prince's half-bastion. These works by 1735 were 
in an advanced state, although but a few guns were mounted, for at this time 
the defence of the town depended on the island battery, protecting the mouth 
of the harbour with a battery of twenty guns broadside to the narrow entrance, 
and on the shore of the harbour, facing its entrance, the Royal battery completed 
with its towers and with its guns mounted. After that date there was taken up 
by the Engineers the fortifications of the eastern part of the town as shown in 
the plans. 

There is some material to make a picture of the town. Monsieur Verrier, 
the Engineer, whiled away the hours of the winter of 1731 in making a drawing 
of the town from the harbour side ; another from the sea, drawn by Bastide, 
shows it substantially as St. Ovide left it ; but in the way of description little 
exists, except the few references to the condition of the people, given by Don 
Antonio d'Ulloa, a Spanish man of science and captain in her navy, who was 
at Louisbourg in 1745 under circumstances to be recounted later. 2 

Verrier's view is confirmed by the written description, and by those which 
are found ornamenting some of the maps, notably that of the first siege. The 
houses were built for the most part in wood on stone foundations, and were 
from eight to eleven feet in height ; but some of them had the first story in 
stone, the upper in wood. This description and Verrier's view would seem to 
indicate that the restrictions as to height had been disregarded, but justify 
D'Ulloa's description. The hospital would, in the general coup */'#/'/, go far to 
redeem the appearance of the town, for it dominated it as the Chateau of St. 
Louis the citadel, and their slender fleches, so characteristic of French archi- 
tecture of the period, would, from sea, have been a guide as certain and as visible 
as the lighthouse. It is also characteristic of the methods of the two peoples, 
that there seems to have been in all the British colonies no buildings so imposing 
as those which the French Government thought suitable for this little establishment. 

Beginning at the water front near the Dauphin gate, the principal entrance 
to the town, the first buildings were the King's store-houses, and lodged in the 
space between this and the inner angle of the King's bastion were the dwellings 

1 C.O. Ad. Captains' Letters, No. 2655. 

"* B.N. Geo. C, 18,850. Brit. Mus., King's, 119, 9$ A. A facsimile is in the Archives at Ottawa, and another in 
the possession of the writer is given as a frontispiece j of the former, Bastide's view is opposite. 


of four military officers. Next on the water front were the establishments of 
some merchants, and the official residence of the Commissaire-Ordonnateur, which 
De Mezy had built for himself in stone at a cost of 20,000 1. Next to this 
house was one belonging to Madame Rodrigue, widow of one of the principal 
merchants in the place, which was 22 feet square on a piece of land 44 x 150 
feet, which Bigot certified in 1739 to be worth 5500 1. 1 This family, like many 
others of the merchants, were well off, " fort a leur aise," enriched by their 
commerce with Europe and America ; their prosperity all founded, to the 
amazement of D'Ulloa, on their single product the cod of Isle Royale, which he 
states is the best from American waters. 

Next to these came the Chapel and Convent of the Recollets, and then 
along the water front some properties belonging to the civil staff. About the 
centre of the town the Sisters of the Congregation had made a somewhat 
improvident bargain, as it was regarded at the time, in buying from De Beaucours 
a lot on which they established their convent and school. So large a part of the 
town was occupied by government buildings and the properties of the military 
and civil staff, that the working population must have been placed along the 
shores of the harbour, on which one still sees the foundations of many buildings. 
Verrier, the Engineer, had a lot on the corner of the Rue d'Estrees and Scatarie 
running through to the newly opened Rue de l'H6pital, where his principal 
neighbour was Cailly, Lieutenant of the Swiss, who had bought from the heirs 
of Baron de L'Esperance the adjoining property. On this Verrier had built 
his modest habitation, not much exceeding, he says, the estimated cost of 6000 1. 2 
This consisted of a ground floor, which held a kitchen, and annexed thereto a 
scullery and a room for a servant, a dining-room, a principal bedroom, and two 
small closets, and in the attic his study, and some small bedrooms for his family. 
The only other description of a house is that of Delaforest, who came to Louis- 
bourg in 1714 as clerk, and in 1728 had risen to be Procureur in the Admiralty 
Court. This he had to demolish because it was under the little hill which was 
to be occupied by the Dauphin bastion. The house was 50 feet long, 15 
wide, built with pickets and was covered with boards. The principal room was 
15 feet square, with two large glazed windows looking out on the harbour, 
and a glazed door opening out to the garden. It had two cabinets, each 
with a window, a kitchen 15 by 14 with two windows, all of them with a 
loft over. There was a lean-to store-house, 15 by 12, against the gable 
of the house, a court of 30 by 70 in front surrounded by pickets and with 
a large gate. At the back was a garden of 60 feet square, also fenced in, 
which was in an excellent state as it had been well manured. 

The normal increase in the population was good. In 1726 it had been 

1 Ulloa, vol. ii. p. 140. 2 Its cost was 28,945 1., for which St. Ovide was reprimanded. 


951, in 1734 it was 1116, and in 1737 was 1463. They were a fruitful people. 
There were 157 families, in which the wife was resident, in 1737, and the 
number of children 664. The custom of sending women to the colonies did 
not affect Isle Royale. Many Canadians had come and married immigrants 
from France, while Acadia supplied all the marriageable maidens the growth 
of the population required. 

These figures include neither the garrison nor the official classes, nor 
apparently the ecclesiastics, of whom there were five Brothers of Charity at the 
hospital, three Recollet monks, and five Sisters of the Congregation. The 
daughters of some of the officers were sent to Canada or to France for their 
education, but after the establishment of the Nuns at Louisbourg their school 
seems to have provided adequately for the education of the young people of 
the place. There does not seem to have been, however, any school for boys, 
and yet they all seem to have written fairly well, and show no more inaccuracy 
as regards grammar and spelling than the majority of young New Englanders 
of the time. 

The population also had become, with the growth of the town, somewhat 
more complex. There was a gardener in the town, a Master of Hydrography, 
and the ladies of the town had the choice of two dressmakers. One Marie 
Paris, born in Louisbourg, apparently had the larger establishment, for with 
her lived three sisters and a maid ; while the widow Radoub, who belonged to 
St. Malo, lived by herself, and, if her name had any significance, exercised a 
humbler form of the art. Nor was the gardener the only person who promoted 
the amenities of life ; one Simon Rondel had come from Namur to carry on 
his profession as a teacher of dancing. 

The earlier disapproval by the authorities of having negroes in Cape Breton 
had broken down through the intercourse with the West Indies, and several of 
the families had negro servants brought from the French islands. 1 They were 
baptized, and in the majority of the cases the godfather and godmother were 
sons and daughters of the officers of the garrison. 

The three bells for the chapel in the citadel were blessed and baptized as 
St. Louis, St. John, and St. Anthoine-Marie, the last being named for Sabatier, 
who was acting at the time, 1733, as Ordonnateur, and for Madame Bourville, 
wife of the King's Lieutenant. The bells for the Recollet church in town were 
also baptized, with De Lort, a merchant of the town, as godfather, and Marie, 
the wife of Despiet, an officer of the garrison, as godmother. 

The illegitimate children of the town were cared for by people of 
position taking the responsibility of godfather and godmother to these un- 
fortunates. These were not numerous, considering the fact that it was a large 

1 St. Ovide to the Minister, Nov. 27, 1724, vol. 9. 


garrison town, frequented by fishermen for six months of the year, and was the 
home of families from which the husband was often absent. Practically the 
full number is known owing to the necessity for baptism among Roman 

In the environs the twenty-five years of settlement had developed the 
country, as is shown on a contemporary map. A road " on which two 
carriages could drive abreast," still passable except for the bridges, had by 1738 
been opened through to the Mire, which it reached opposite Salmon River. 
On the beautiful meadows which form its banks, St. Ovide had his concessions, 
and in his neighbourhood were settled some few retired soldiers. 

The Sieur Jean Milly, a principal merchant of Louisbourg, had an 
establishment not distant from that of the Governor. It is probable that these 
were the two estates which were described by Gibson, who led a party to the 
Mire in 1745.* 

"We found two fine farms upon a neck of land that extended near seven miles in 
length. The first we came to was a very handsome house, and had two large barns, well 
finished, that lay contiguous to it. Here, likewise, were two very large gardens ; as also 
some fields of corn of a considerable height, and other good lands thereto belonging, besides 
plenty of beach wood and fresh water .... The other house was a fine stone edifice, 
consisting of six rooms on a floor, all well finished. There was a fine jwall before it, and 
two fine barns contiguous to it, with fine gardens and other appurtenances, besides several 
fine fields of wheat. In one of the barns there were fifteen loads of hay, and room 
sufficient for three score horses and other cattle." 

Living people have seen the brick floors of a large byre with the bones of 
many cattle on it on the southern side of the Mire, near Albert Bridge. The 
properties of M. de Catalogne and the Fathers of Charity ran along the Mir6 
River and shore of the bay, into which it empties, and Lagrange, a sergeant, and 
Boucher, the Engineer, owned the lands behind the Lorambecs, and caused much 
dissatisfaction to the fisherfolk by refusing permission to cut the wood necessary 
for their flakes. The description of these farms would indicate that this 
outflow of enterprise and population would come from a more thriving town 
than the official letters described. Scarcity of food is a serious thing, but 
satisfaction, with her offspring comfort and energy, treads close on the heels of 
supply. It was only after St. Ovide's time that the accounts indicate stagnation 
from want. 

The officers were approximately of the same social grade, and that noble. 
They were of different origins : some, as Bourville, were Normans ; the Du 

1 This identification is not certain. Gibson's distances seem all inaccurate, but Milly was the only known proprietor 
likely to have so important an establishment, unless St. Ovide had built after his absence, which is not likely. The 
direction by which the scout marched, west-north-west, prevents these being those of the Peres de la Charite and 
Catalogne. There is some evidence that Du Vivier had in 1745 a farm on the Miri. 


Chambon and Dangeac families, as well as St. Ovide, were from the south-west 
provinces of France ; the Perelles were Parisian, and the Canadian connection 
was kept up by D'Ailleboust, after the younger Rouville, born in Isle Royale, 
had returned to Canada ; while the families of De Cannes and De la Tour were 
Acadian. Catalogne, a Protestant of Beam, who had been admitted to the 
Catholic Church, had come to Isle Royale after a distinguished service as 
Engineer in Canada, apparently possessed of some means, for he not only bought 
property in the town, but an extensive tract of land along the slopes of that lake 
which was then known as the Barachois de Mire and is now called by his name. 

Among this little group of people marriages were frequent. It might 
almost be said that they were all connected. Villejouin, for example, came to 
Isle Royale in 1714, dying there four years later. After a widowhood of ten 
years, his wife married D'Ailleboust, connected with the Perelles ; their son married 
a De Gannes-Falaise, whose mother was a De la Valliere ; while another sister 
married Couagne, an officer. La Valliere intermarried with the Rousseau 
Souvigni, and a daughter of the latter family became the wife of Chassin de 
Thierry, the grandson of an Ecuyer de la Bouche de sa Majeste (Louis XIV.). 
The daughters of the De la Tour family married, as might be expected ; Jeanne 
was the wife of Rousseau Souvigni, but the brother, judging from the names of 
his two wives, married among the bourgeois, and so on through the list. The 
older Catalogne came to Louisbourg as a married man, and one of his four 
daughters married before she was of age a De Gannes-Falaise. While these 
were socially correct marriages, others went outside of their own class. The 
young Baron de 1'Esperance, an officer of the Swiss companies, married a 
Demoiselle Rodrigue. Young Bois Berthelot married a Des Goutins. Two of 
the descendants of the Baron de la Poterie married Daccarettes of the superior 
bourgeoisie. A D'lle la Valliere, apparentl) after a hasty courtship, for the 
vessel was not long in port, married Fierrot, a lieutenant of a ship of the East 
India Company which in 1744 called at Louisbourg. Another sister, Barbe, 
married Delort, a merchant of the town, an alliance more unusual than the 
military men marrying the daughters of merchants. The Dangeac family 
apparently married into the bourgeoisie in the second generation. The first 
to serve in the colonies was the older Gabriel, who began his career in 1685. 
He was transferred to Cape Breton, where he died in 1737. His son served in 
Isle Royale, became Governor of St. Pierre, and died in 1782 after fifty-seven 
years in the King's service. He made at Louisbourg in 1735 a misalliance 
which enhanced the vigour of his race, for there are letters extant from his two 
daughters, one aged ninety-four, and another, Charlotte, aged eighty-nine, 
written in 1830. As these old ladies, when Queen Victoria was in her teens, 
could have boasted that their grandfather was alive when Charles the Second 


reigned in England, it illustrates the extraordinary space of time which can be 
covered by three generations. 

As somewhat unwelcome members of this community came, in 1721-22, 
two detachments of the Swiss Regiment of Karrer, raised by the King to 
supplement the naval troops. The officers and men were Protestants, but, 
notwithstanding the friction at first, they adjusted themselves. Some of the 
non-commissioned officers married ; and the elder De 1'EspeVance, a Baron of 
the Holy Roman Empire and son of the Lieut.-Colonel of the regiment of the 
Duke of Wurtemburg, was admitted to the Catholic Church and married 
Margueritte Dangeac, a step which he represents as costing him his patrimony. 

Complaints were made that the Swiss troops held tenaciously to their 
privileges as Protestants, but the example of De l'Esprance was followed by 
not an inconsiderable number of his men, mostly among those who were married 
and were householders. Other cases occur. A native of " Hampcher," an English 
Calvinist, a Dutch Lutheran, and one " Gyleis," an Irish Anglican, made their 
peace with the dominant Church, while here and there occur entries in the 
register which indicate that the French wandered into New England colonies. 
Couples remarried after living in Massachusetts, children born in New England 
were baptized, all this showing the benign influences of mutually profitable trade, 
and a zeal on the part of the Recollets or their parishioners, which, like the 
care of the negro and the unfortunate, give 'fairer impressions of the community 
than we get from some reports of scandalous conduct. 

The high-sounding names of these officers did not imply any great 
splendour in their way of life. All of these families, by the census of 1734, 
except that of the Dangeacs, had two servants. In food they had good 
material to work with. Fish and game were abundant. 1 Voltaire somewhere 
draws a comparison between the splendid equipages of Lima and their absence 
in Louisbourg ; a more significant indication of the modesty in life in Isle 
Royale is that although every year one or more men-of-war visited it, remaining 
usually several weeks in port, none of their officers married into its families, 
while many daughters of planters in Martinique and St. Domingo became the 
wives of naval men. 2 

Costebelle was in financial difficulties, but in his time he occupied the first 
position in the colony. The returns of his goods sold at auction in 1720 for 
the benefit of his creditors give some details. The first article offered was a 
yellow satin dressing-gown lined with blue taffeta. It was followed by a scarlet 
coat embroidered in gold, a suit of coffee-coloured cloth lined with silk and 

1 The latter was cared for, for twice at least the shooting of partridges was prohibited. Forest fires, however, which 
also made fuel dear, were their greatest enemy. 

2 Among them, two M'Carthys, obviously Irish, and presumably Jacobites, who were in the French Navy, became 
rich by such alliances. 


embroidered in silver, which, bringing ninety livres, made it less valuable than 
another cloth suit, bordered with gold, which brought one hundred and seventy 
livres. Twenty-one shirts were sold and nine cravats. In silver there were 
apparently only ten table spoons and forks, and two silver candlesticks, his 
table service being made up by three dozen pewter plates and fourteen dishes, 
while there were only eight table-cloths and three dozen napkins, which would 
indicate either a meagre supply for the position he occupied, or that not all of 
his household goods were then disposed of. The proceeds of this sale were 
distinctly less than those of a ship's captain who died in port and whose 
personal effects, in which were twenty-four gold buttons, brought 1600 francs. 

But there were brighter sides to life in Louisbourg than these details of 
circumscribed conditions and narrow incomes. It was permanent, for there 
were very few changes in the garrison or civil officials. There were the 
pleasures of the chase for those who cared for them. 1 Gaming was common 
and excessive in the later years of the town, and with its prevalence in France 
it probably at all times passed away many hours for society. 2 The town 
appealed to a New England chaplain, who writes of the fine walk along the 
ramparts. 8 

They had public celebrations which kept them in touch with events in 
Europe, and made it evident that Isle Royale was a part of a great kingdom. 
A Te Deum was sung for the restoration to health of the King in 1721, and 
another for the birth of a Princess in 1728, but the greatest entertainment was 
at the time of the rejoicing for the birth of the Dauphin. 4 On the 26th of October 
1730, at daybreak, there was a salvo of artillery, another during the Te Deum at 
High Mass, and a third with a discharge of musketry at nightfall. Bourville, 
the acting Governor, gave a dinner to eighty military officers, followed by a ball. 
De Mezy, at his house, had a dinner of twenty-eight for the civil officers and 
the principal merchants, and the following days gave two dinners of sixteen for 
the captains in port, and of twenty to the staff, his house being too small to 
entertain, at one time, all whom he wished. The festivities closed by the 
officers of the garrison giving a feast for eighty, followed, like that of De 
Bourville, by a ball. No such rejoicings seem to have taken place in Louisbourg 
since Meschin's dinner in 1716, whereat the tally of salutes was lost in the 
mists of his exuberant hospitality. 

Cape Breton has weather as dreary and disappointing as well can 
be conceived. There are weeks in autumn when a dull earth meets a leaden 
sea, in winter when the ground is white, the sea sombre. In spring the sea 

1 Le Normant'i bag one morning at Baleinc was forty birds. 

2 Verrier'* picture of the town designates by the local standard a rather imposing house on the Rue du Port as " le 
billard." We have no indication as to whether this was a club or a public place for the game. 

8 William's Journal. * Vol. n, f. 21. 


is white and glistering with drift ice, the land dreary with dead vegetation. 
In early summer sea and land are dank with fog, and at any time occur gales 
of wind which are always blustering and often destructive. Although by 
the accounting of the meteorologist the difficult or unpleasant conditions 
predominate, the good weather so far surpasses in degree the bad, that, the 
latter past, it seems but naught. On fine days the moorland is a sheet of 
glowing russet and gold, the rocks are so noble a background, for the most 
pellucid of seas, the clouds which hang in the overarching blue are so 
monumental in shape, the line of coast which dies down to the eastern horizon 
is so picturesque in outline, that they, seen through an air sparkling, limpid, 
exhilarating in the highest degree, make of Louisbourg a delight which must 
have appealed to its people in the past, as it does to the visitor of to-day. 
Above all, when the inhabitant reached the turning-point of his promenade at 
the ramparts, he looked out over an ocean which stretched unbroken to southern 
polar ice. That ocean was the only highway of important news. On it 
mysterious sails appeared in the offing and pirates plundered. Each ship 
which worked in from its horizon might bring tidings of adventure or of 
consequence to the onlooker or the community. With such a prospect life 
.might be hopeless but it could not be permanently dull. 


MAUREPAS had contemplated improving the administration of Isle Royale 
before matters had come to a head with St. Ovide. On his dismissal, the 
Minister acted in the best interest of the colony, for from the applications for 
the position of Governor he selected Isaac Forant, 1 a captain of the ship of the 
line. He offered the place to him privately, so that in the event of his 
declining, the choice of a successor would not be more difficult. Forant did 
not consider the position worthy of his rank, as Isle Royale was only a 
dependency of New France, and the Governor-Generalships of New France, 
St. Domingo, Martinique, and Louisiana were held by naval officers of his own 
standing. After the intimation to him that it was the King's wish that he 
should go, he made no further difficulties, and set sail on the Jason for 
Louisbourg, where he arrived early in September I739 2 

For the first time the colony was placed under a new administration, for 
on the same ship was the new Commissaire-Ordonnateur, belonging to a family 
distinguished in the magistracy, but untried in colonial administration. 8 He 
had been principal clerk at Rochefort, and began, as the associate of Forant, a 
colonial career which for ever links his name, Fran9ois Bigot, with the darker 
passages of the latest years of French rule in Canada. 

The ample instructions to Forant and Bigot indicate that the Minister was 
familiar with the condition of affairs at Isle Royale, but do not disclose whether 
the self-reliance which these officials displayed was the result of instruction or 
of personal qualities. The contrast between their administration and that of 
St. Ovide shows clearly how far a system may be modified by the character of 
the men it employs. St. Ovide and both the Le Normants constantly quarrelled. 

1 Isaac Louis Forant was the son of Job <le Forant, Premier Chef d'Escadre des Armees Navales. He passed 
through the ordinary course of naval instruction and promotion, in the course of which he visited Louisbourg and other 
ports in American waters beginning in 1724. In this year he made charts of the Grand Banks, A. N. Marine, C 7 , 108, 
and B 4 , 48. The Habitant says that the family was of Danish origin and left their country on account of their 

2 His commission was dated April i, 1739. 

* His father was a councillor of the Parliament of Bordeaux, akin to Puysieulx, Minister of Foreign Affairs, so that 
the son entered the King's service in 1723 under favourable auspices. 



They lacked initiative, and found, when they did make decisions, that these were 
frequently overruled. The merchants, fishers, and officers of the Admiralty 
complained of their acts. Their official reports to the Minister seem, at times, 
to have been intentionally inaccurate. The new officials took up their duties in 
harmony, with vigour and self-confidence, and seem to have had no hesitation in 
laying before the Minister the exact condition of affairs under their charge. 

Immediately after his installation Forant, calling together the troops at 
Louisbourg, which consisted, including the garrison of the outports and Isle 
St. Jean, of eight companies of sixty men and one hundred Swiss, told them 
that any complaints that any of them might make would be carefully considered 
and justly dealt with. His report on them was far from satisfactory. 

"With the utmost sincerity I may say that I have never seen such bad troops. We 
would not keep one hundred soldiers, if we discharged all those who are below the 
regulation height. But without regard to stature and physique I believe that it is better 
to discharge invalids, who are pillars of the hospital and occasion much expense, and are of 
no use whatsoever, as well as rascals who not only are incorrigible, but are even capable of 
leading others into vicious ways. ... It is better to have fewer men than to have them 
of this character." l 

He deals severely with the conditions in which the troops live. In the 
stately barracks their quarters were wretched. They slept two in a bunk, and 
Forant immediately requested for them a supply of mattresses and bedding, for 
the hay on which they slept was changed but once a year, and, therefore, was 
so infested with vermin that many preferred to sleep during summer on the 
ramparts. Notwithstanding such conditions and the relations of the men with 
their officers, so low a standard had the soldiers, that, in response to his 
invitation, no complaints were made. 

He then called together the officers of the garrison in his apartment, and 
laid before them the complaints of their conduct which had reached the Minister. 
These were, that not all the troops were carried on the rolls ; that verbal leave 
of absence was given to the soldiers, so that it was said privates had been twelve 
or fifteen years in the colony and had never mounted guard ; that new recruits 
had to buy unnecessary clothing, which the officers supplied from the uniforms 
of the soldiers who had died in the hospital ; that their canteens encouraged 
the soldiers to drink ; and that the officers obtained provisions in excessive 
quantities from the King's store. The officers seemed much affected by these 
charges, and assured him that they were not so bad as they had been represented. 
They instituted on the spot certain reforms, and he closed the interview by 
saying that the best way to discredit the bad impressions of the past was to see 
that in the future no grounds for complaint should occur. 

1 I.R. vol. 26. 


Forant on his previous cruises had visited Louisbourg and was familiar 
with its requirements. Knowing its dependence for defence on artillery, he had 
provided in France a wooden cannon to serve as a model. He brought it with 
him on the Jason, mounted it in the barracks, and thereafter gun drill took 
place every Sunday. This he did as preliminary to the establishment of an 
artillery company, the necessity of which he urged on the Minister as the troops 
were unskilled in serving artillery. 

The unsettled state of affairs in Europe directed the attention of Forant 
and Bigot to the military condition of Louisbourg. They wrote that in a time 
of peace it was suffering from the scarcity of provisions, 1 and in time of war a 
privateer or two in the Gulf and the Strait of Canso could reduce them by 
famine, unless there were more ample stores. It was necessary to send out more 
guns with their equipment, and to remount those already on the ramparts, as 
their carriages had decayed. They pointed out that it would be inadvisable to 
attempt the preservation of guns by dismounting them for the winter, as, if they 
were attacked, it would be very early in the year before they could get them 
remounted. Forant wrote to urge the Minister to begin the war by attacking 
Acadia. With two frigates, two hundred regular troops, two thousand muskets 
for the Acadians, whom the English would probably disarm, the expedition under 
his command, he would answer for the result. Acadia joined to Isle Royale 
would make a flourishing colony, 2 and desiring secrecy he wrote in his own hand 
a letter, 3 displaying his eagerness for attack : " I have the honour to say only, 
that in the situation in which we find ourselves we require fewer forts and less 
outlay to attack than to defend ourselves." 4 The principle was sound ; when 
war came it was, however, the enemies of Isle Royale who acted on it. 

The garrison needed strengthening. He pointed out, as St. Ovide had 
often done, that it was inadequate to do more than ordinary duty, but he could 
get on with the increase of two or three companies and the artillery company. 
He begged the Minister not to be deterred by the expense of more barrack 
accommodation, for he could provide for eight more companies by giving up his 
own house, and utilizing for himself that of Verrier, who was to go to France 
the following year. 

Bigot was not less active, on his side, in carrying out the Minister's 
instructions. He introduced a system of supervision of the King's stores which 
was, in his view, called for in a country where officials owned boats, and in 
consequence had crews to feed, and were interested in other commercial ventures 

1 Vamlrcuil, who commanded the Ja:on, had supplied several vessels with provisions which they could not obtain 
in the town. 

2 Nov. 14, vol. 21, f. 72. Nov. 16, f. 86. 

4 "J'ay 1'honneur dc vous dire seulement que dans la situation ou nous nous trouvons il nous faut moins de forte* (?) 
et dc depanccs pour ataquer que pour nous defandrc." 


which they had more at heart than the interest of the King. He established 
an office at the warehouse to supervise the distribution of stores, and made an 
attempt to introduce the contract system in the purchase of supplies. His first 
effort, asking tenders for molasses for three years, was unsuccessful, on account 
of the high price asked by the merchants, who feared war. During the course 
of the war with Spain the French merchants had enjoyed the benefit of Spanish 
markets for fish over those of England, but its ending would throw them open 
to competition with England. This caused Bigot to look to the West Indies 
for an extension of the trade in fish, and he suggested to the Minister the 
imposition of a duty on salt beef to promote in these islands the consumption of 
cod, if it would not hurt the commerce of France. 

He promoted experiments for the manufacturing of fish-glue, which seemed 
to be successful. He was the first persistent friend of the Cape Breton coal 
trade, which seems to have languished, for he at once sent a sample to France, 
and, as it again proved good, he continued in later years his attempts to develop 
this important industry. He supported his case by pointing out that the coal 
mines of Cape Breton supplied New England, and that their produce would be 
two-thirds cheaper in France than the coal which the King was then buying. 

While their letters of instructions had carefully defined their respective 
duties, Forant and Bigot seemed to have worked in entire harmony and acted 
together on matters which, strictly, were exclusively entrusted to one or the other 
of them. Bigot gave his opinion on military matters, and we find not only a 
desire to secure the best interests of the traders of the place on the part of Bigot, 
but that he associated Forant in his dealings with these matters. Le Normant 
had left an elaborate memoir dealing with the fisheries, which for some years had 
been unprofitable. He proposed in it various remedies. Bigot and Forant, 
before making any report on the matter, called together the principal traders of 
the place, and discussed the subject with them. They also called a general 
assembly of the inhabitants and arranged with them the rates to be established 
for wintering boats in the little harbour, which had been made in the Barachois 
de Lasson. 

The business of the colony went on in a satisfactory way. Twelve vessels 
had been built in Isle Royale during the year, eight had been bought from New 
England, and Bigot urged on the Government to give the same shipbuilding 
bounty, 5 1. a ton, as was given in Quebec. The Minister was informed in 
relation to foreign trade that only one English vessel had come, which was sent 
by Armstrong, Governor of Nova Scotia, with a little flour, the proceeds of 
which had been exchanged for French goods. Permission had been readily 
granted for this trading, as Forant and Bigot were desirous of placating 
Armstrong on account of the missionaries of Acadia. The abundant crops of 



Isle St. Jean, where there was now a considerable Acadian population, encouraged 
there the further clearing of land. 

They secured, by employing these judicious methods, a willing acceptance 
of their proposed regulations before they were issued, and in the only case of 
conflict of jurisdiction, Forant asserted his supremacy over the officials of the 
Admiralty so tactfully that there was no friction about this matter, nor over the 
release by him and Bigot of a vessel from the western shore of Newfoundland, 
which the Admiralty officials had condemned on technical grounds. 

There was no disagreement between them when it came to the consideration 
of a most important proposal made by Beauharnois and Hocquart to establish 
a warehouse at Louisbourg which, kept permanently supplied, would prevent the 
famines to which the colony had throughout its existence been exposed. 1 They 
said, with sound judgment, that if the storehouse were the King's every one 
would depend on it, while if it belonged to a company it would ruin commerce. 

The following year, 1 740, was opening with plans for further development 
when the career of Forant was cut short, in the inclement spring of Louisbourg, 
by an attack of pneumonia, to which he succumbed on May 10, after an illness 
of thirteen days. He was buried, at Bigot's instance, and in spite of the criticism 
of some of the military, in the chapel of the citadel, Bigot considering that his 
position as Governor entitled him to this unusual honour. His eulogy of his 
late associate was handsome. Forant knew character, he recalled to better 
courses his subordinates who had fallen away, was upright, and inspired by a 
sense of justice which was all-important in an establishment full of cabals. Bigot 
begged that a successor like him should be sent out. Forant testified in his will 
to his high opinion of Bigot, for the latter was made his executor ; and in the 
disposition of his property showed his interest in the colony where he had ruled 
so short a time by bequeathing a fund for the education of eight daughters of 
officers in the Convent of the Sisters of the Congregation. After a short 
interval this bequest was made effective. 

x The few months in which they administered the colony were too short to 
show many results, but the harmony with which they worked, the intelligence 
with which they grasped the situation, their interest in trade, their conciliatory 
attitude to the people, make it reasonable to believe that had Forant been 
appointed at the time St. Ovide became Governor, and ruled as long, the 
condition of Louisbourg would have been very different; 

Bourville again took charge. At different intervals he had served six years 
in all as acting Governor. He now unsuccessfully applied for the position. 
While he discharged its duties he continued to make plans for defence, and 
representations of the needs of the place in the same strain as his predecessors. 

1 Vol. 21, p. 23. 


He arranged to put, in event of attack, the fishermen and sailors at the outlying 
batteries, and reserve his troops, unfamiliar with artillery, for the defence of the 
walls. The successor to Forant chosen by Maurepas was Du Quesnel, 1 who 
hurriedly left France for his new post, where he arrived on November 2, 1740, 
and at once assumed the duties of the position. 

When Du Quesnel was installed the defence of the town at once occupied 
his attention. He stumped forth to inspect the work, for he was one-legged, 
a cannon-ball having carried away one leg and shattered the other when he was 
on the Admiral's ship in the action off Malaga in 1704. He found the works 
of the town in good condition, agreed with the view expressed in one of Forant's 
latest letters (February 8), that the royal battery was unsatisfactory on account 
of the lowness of the embrasures on the landward side, important in a place 
where a surprise was more to be feared than a regular attack. He repeated the 
complaints of St. Ovide, Forant, and Bourville, that the garrison was inadequate. 2 
He asked for fifty more Swiss, as some of the troops knew not their right hand 
from their left. Their supply of arms was short, and Bigot joined him in asking 
for fifteen hundred more muskets, that the inhabitants might be armed. 3 

Du Quesnel and Bigot represented that the supply of powder should be 
kept up to its present quantity, so that the five tons they had recently received 
would be available for privateers should war break out. They asked for six 
twelve-pound guns of the new model, which had commended itself to Du Quesnel. 

1 Jean Baptiste Louis Le Prevost, Seigneur du Quesnel, de Changy Pourteville et d'autres lieux. I have found little 
about his professional advancement. He was made captain, October 1731, and had evidently been in the West Indies, 
for his wife was Mademoiselle Giraud de Poyet, daughter of the Lieutenant de Roi at Martinique. The Habitant says, 
" Poor man, we owe him little j he was whimsical, changeable, given to drink, and when in his cups knowing no restraint 
or decency. He had affronted nearly all the officers of Louisbourg. and destroyed their authority with the soldiers. It 
was because his affairs were in disorder and he was ruined that he had been given the government of Cape Breton." 
There is no evidence in other sources to confirm this view. 

2 An analysis of the guards made in 1741, after the troops had been increased by 80, shows how they 
were disposed : 

Guards and Reliefs 

Citadel, King's Bastion ..... 94 

Queen's Bastion 
Port Dauphin Gate 
Maurepas Gate 
Store-house, Treasury 
Hospital Battery 
In Hospital 
Royal Battery . 
Island Battery . 
At Port Dauphin 
At Port Toulouse 




Isle St. Jean ....... 

A total of 651, while the whole force was 710. With the Island Battery ungarrisoned, it certainly left no effective 
combatant force. Bourville wrote in August 1740 that 556 men could not fill the posts (vol. 23, p. 71). 
8 They had in store only five hundred at this time. 


These cannon were intended for the defence of the town ; but in addition they 
asked for a supply of guns and shot, for the same purpose as the extra supply of 
powder, the use of privateers. 1 

The condition of affairs continued so threatening that he asked the officers 
who had received permission to go to France (Verrier, Cailly, Commander of 
the Swiss, De Pensens, and Sabatier) to remain at their posts, to which they all 
cheerfully consented. He also took up a scheme of attack after consultation 
with Du Vivier, Du Chambon, the senior officer being at Isle St. Jean. 2 They 
discussed Forant's plan of attack on Annapolis. They emphasized the necessity 
of sending the two men-of-war for which he asked at the same time as the 
Basque fishermen who left France in February. They called the Minister's 
attention to the fact that, as the English would probably not remain passive, 
and Louisbourg would be their objective if they took the field, that the defences 
of that place should not be weakened. Du Vivier presented an alternative 
scheme to that of Du Quesnel. It was to select two hundred men of the 
Louisbourg troops, who were to proceed late in the autumn to Acadia, and lie 
hidden in the forests until snow made travelling possible. Then, reinforced by 
the Indians and Acadians, the latter being induced to join the expedition by the 
payment of lavish prices for their provisions and supplies, these forces should 
rush the feeble defences of Annapolis over its snow-filled ditch, and overpower 
its small garrison. 3 They would require for the expedition two hundred troops, 
eight hundred muskets, two hundred haversacks, and 40,000 1. in cash. These, 
if the plan was approved, the Minister was asked to send. 

While these military matters, being of the most vital concern, were en- 
grossing the attention of the authorities, the ordinary commercial business of 
the colony was being carried on. The energy of the administration in the 
colony seemed to have been reflected in the bureau of the Minister, for the 
reports from Isle Royale now received a more careful examination than they had 
in the past. Bigot's attention was called to the fact that although the catch of 
fish in 1739 was valued at 3,061,465 1., and in 1740 at 2,629,980!., seventeen 
more vessels had come from France in the latter year. These either had 
returned not fully laden or had bought English cod. Bigot dealt with the 
matter with his accustomed openness. 4 He admitted that smuggling went on. 

1 They asked ror 6 of six pounds with 900 shot, 24 of four pounds with 4500 shot, and copper ladles for hot 
shot (I.R. vol. 22, p. 215). As the letter of the Habitant is the most generally known contemporary account of 
these years it may be pointed out that in reference to sending out privateers, as well as in other matters, the actions 
of the local officials, of which the writer complained, were known to and encouraged by the Minister. 

- Letter, December i, 1740. 3 Five companies each of 31 men. 

4 He further points out that the captain's personal ventures are not included in returns, nor those of the exports of 
Ingonish, the most important place after Louisbourg. I have found no evidence that the practice was different this year 
than at previous times, and hazard the surmise that it was the ease with which the excuse passed scrutiny that opened to 
him the possibilities of enriching himself by improper means. 


The new England vessels brought mostly tar, pitch, and planks, and in return 
bought rum and molasses, for which there would be an inadequate outlet if it 
were not for this trade. He informed the Minister that Sieur Lagarande, the 
richest and most charitable merchant of Ingonish, was concerned in this contra- 
band trade, but that the principal place where it took place was at Petit de Grat. 
This could easily have been prevented by efficiency on the part of the officer at 
Port Toulouse, Du Bois Berthelot. A boat to watch this commerce which was 
carried on with Canso should be kept, but that unless manned and officered 
from a man-of-war, it would be useless. Somewhat later he pointed out that 
French and English vessels were accustomed to meet at Martengo, 1 a port to 
the westward of Canso, where they exchanged cargoes without molestation from 
either French or English officials. The new vigour in the home administration, 
or confidence in Bigot's representations, is shown by the removal, when these 
reports were received, of Du Bois Berthelot from Port Toulouse, and by the 
authorization given to Bigot to arrange with D'Aubigny, captain of the man-of- 
war on the station in 1741, for the proposed coast-guard, for which a barge of 
thirteen oars was sent out. This searching statement of the actual state of 
affairs, the proposal of remedies, and the immediate acceptance of the sugges- 
tions by Maurepas, are without counterpart in the previous history of Isle 

The first dispatch received in July by the Louisbourg authorities intimated 
to them that the political situation was unchanged, that only through necessity 
would the King be drawn into war, but if France should become involved, the 
two men-of-war which the King proposed to send to American waters would 
be dispatched to Louisbourg to protect the fisheries, and carry out plans 
Maurepas had previously sent them. He referred them also to his instructions 
to Forant, and with a confidence for which his own acts had given little ground, 
expressed the view that while the English might make an attempt on Louis- 
bourg, the reports he had received led him to the opinion that it would be 
without success. Instead of establishing two more companies he increased the 
eight already at Louisbourg by ten men each, sent fifty more Swiss, and enough 
recruits to bring all the companies up to their full strength of seventy men. 
Fifteen thousand pounds of powder, eight hundred muskets, and some cannon- 
ball were shipped out with them. Du Quesnel accepted these supplies, only as 
an instalment of what was necessary. They had, he reported, in their armoury, 
not a pike, pistol, or sword, and needed mortars as much as small arms. They 
were, however, doing all they could. Satisfactory progress was being made on 
the fortifications. 2 They had increased the number of workers by bringing in 

1 I.R. vol. 23, p. 17. 
3 The transfer of this work from Ganet to Muiron, the new contractor, was made without loss of time. 


the soldiers from the outports, while abolition of Monday as a holiday, and 
their efforts to prevent the soldiers getting drunk on rainy days, made the work 
more effective. The population was divided into militia companies of fifty men 
each, and Verrier projected a small bastion on the landward side of the Royal 
Battery 1 to overcome the weakness of that fortification. The only disquieting 
reports received, except those from headquarters, were rumours which reached 
them from the West Indies of depredations on French commerce by English 
privateers, and the appearance off" the port of a suspicious vessel. They sent 
out Morpain, the port captain, in search of her. He cruised along the coast 
and entered the smaller harbours without any result. 

The Swiss had always given some trouble in their dealings with the 
Governor, as they were tenacious of the privileges granted to their regiment 
the Karrer, possibly because the Louisbourg detachment included its leading 
company, " la compagnie Colonelle " ; but this year Cailly, their captain, made 
the most serious disturbance by refusing, on a question of precedence, to assemble 
his men when ordered by Du Quesnel. His refusal was formal and in writing, 
so that Cailly was dismissed ; but his wife having made intercession for him 
with Du Quesnel, the latter brought his influence to bear on the Minister, which 
led to Cailly's reinstatement. 2 

The necessity of pushing on the works, and of safe-guarding the morals, 
not only of the troops, but of the people of the town, led the authorities to 
make, after a long interval, efforts to limit the sale of drink. St. Ovide had 
never found the settled season which Costebelle thought was necessary before 
it could be effectively dealt with. Du Quesnel and the captains agreed that 
the canteens which they had kept, and were a considerable source of profit to 
the company commanders, 3 should be suppressed. He noted that Du Vivier 
had never kept one, having taken the course of giving his men a little money 
when they wished to divert themselves, an indication of his being well off"; the 
result possibly of those commercial ventures of which the merchants of Louis- 
bourg had complained. They dealt with the public sale of drink by regulations 
which prohibited traffic in it to any who were capable of earning a livelihood in 
some productive employment. Those who engaged in it must have a licence 
and display a sign ; they were forbidden to sell to soldiers on duty or working, 
to sailors and hired fishermen who were supplied by their masters, or to any one 
during the hours of divine service, and after the retreat had been beaten ; the 
penalty for an infraction of any of these rules being the confiscation of their 
supply and a fine of lool. Further efforts to improve the morals of the place 

1 This was not built. 2 Vol. 23, 60, 72. 

3 Du Quesnel says that they must shut their eyes to the profit which the officers make from supplying their men, 
as the pay of a captain, 1420 1. it too little. He also speaks well of Du Chambon, who succeeded him, as he never engaged 
in trade, he was poor. 


were made by the Minister sending from the West Indies a negro to apply the 
rack to criminals. 1 

The influence for good exerted by Forant was losing its effect. Du 
Quesnel said that things were slipping back into bad ways, that his efforts to 
right them had made him unpopular, but that he carried with him the best of 
the officers and citizens. He praised Bigot, who, he added, had no other object 
than the good of his service. The Minister showed his confidence in them in 
the most satisfactory way. Du Quesnel received an indemnity of 5000!. for 
the expenses of his removal to Isle Royale, and Bigot, making his request with 
a statement that he had never expected to ask for anything but advancement, 
says he was compelled, by the expenses of living at Louisbourg, to solicit an 
increase in his salary. The Minister sent to him an additional 1200!. with 
a commendation of his zeal. Somewhere in the man were the potentialities of 
the Bigot of Quebec. They do not appear in the frank, intelligent letters of 
one who was a favourite with his associates, who asked for a second Forant as 
Governor, from whom a Minister demanded no more than to continue as he had 
begun, who placed in him, as years went on, increasing confidence, and, un- 
solicited, gave him promotion. 

In 1742 Bigot had to deal with those economic conditions which so often 
had injured the colony. In May they sent an express to warn Maurepas that 
Louisbourg was again on the verge of starvation. They had attempted to 
obtain flour at Canso, but without success, and they were further disquieted by 
the report that the exportation of provisions from New York and New England 
was forbidden. Nevertheless, in the emergency, they sent a vessel there with 
some hopes of obtaining a cargo for it, as an officer 2 of Canso was interested in 
the venture. 

Du Quesnel and Bigot suggested that to avoid the recurrence of these 
periods of scarcity a store-house for flour from New England should be 
established at Louisbourg. This would have given no immediate relief even if 
permission were given to undertake its founding. The situation demanded 
prompter remedies. In June the soldiers were persuaded to submit to the 
limitation of their bread to a pound a day, which set free about three hundred- 
weight of flour to be distributed among the needy. The fishermen also cut 
down their consumption, which helped matters ; but the curtailment of food was 
uncomfortable, and the dearth of vegetables produced ill-health among the 

1 Vol. B, 72, f. 10. 

2 It seems a fair surmise that this was Bradstreet, then an officer of this garrison, who was related to several of the 
officers at Louisbourg. Bradstreet says that he was thoroughly familiar with Nova Scotia, so that this connection would 
have arisen probably through the De la Tour family. He was certainly interested in trade, for in 1741 he visited Louis- 
bourg, carrying to Du Quesnel the congratulations of Cosby. He there sold his schooner, bought rum with its proceeds, 
and laid out two thousand crowns in the port (I.R. vol. 23, f. 57). 


people. This distressing condition continued until August, when some relief 
was obtained by the arrival of small vessels from New England and Quebec, 
and in September the arrival of the store-ship from France brought abundance. 
But to fully justify Du Quesnel's description of Isle Royale as an unhappy 
colony, as the fishing had been a failure, the people were too poor to buy food 
at the high prices asked. Bigot, who had previously seen the agricultural re- 
sources of the Mire, and regretted that so fair an estate on its banks had been 
given to St. Ovide, saw this year, on a tour of inspection to the northern parts, 
the agricultural lands along the Bras d'Or lakes, which made him certain that 
the island might become self-sustaining. The Minister sent a prompt reply 
which denied approval to the recommendation of a store-house for New England 
flour, although he had previously been told that the merchants of Quebec did 
not fear the competition of New England. In this he followed the same policy 
as the Navy Board of the Regency which had disapproved in 1716 of Coste- 
belle's suggestion of a permitted trade with New England. Costebelle had 
accepted the decision without protest. Bigot did not hesitate to warn Maurepas 
that, if his views were carried out, the colony would be injured. Crops in 
Canada would in the future fail, as they had in two successive years. If Isle 
Royale must depend on France alone, without drawing any part of its supplies 
from New England, the cost of living would be so permanently enhanced that it 
would carry on its business at a great disadvantage. He returned to the matter 
the following year, and showed that flour from New England delivered at Louis- 
bourg cost less 1 than French flour delivered at Rochefort. In addition to this 
disadvantage, the shipment of flour with which he made comparison was so poor 
in quality that it could only be used by mixing it with that from the British 

Such periods of scarcity as this had been passed through not infrequently. 
Nothing, however, had arisen in the past to affect the fundamental advantages 
of Isle Royale in its great industry, but in these years complaints of the 
quality of the fish it sent to European markets were heard. As we learn 
from English sources - that the curing of fish at Canso was bad, these 
complaints of the poor quality of French shipments give basis for a confirmation 
of the reports that the merchants of Louisbourg bought Canso fish, as they 
were cheaper than their own catch. 8 In the midst of these discouragements, 
the promise of a new trade gave encouragement to its people. It had been 
thought that Louisbourg would prove an admirable port of call for French 
merchantmen on long voyages. This year the Eakine of Nantes, from 
Vera Cruz to Cadiz, called at Louisbourg for provisions and a convoy for 
the remainder of her voyage. Her cargo consisted of treasure and such 

1 16 or 17 1., as against 17 1., 18 1., 18 1. 10 . (vol. 25). 2 C.O. 5/5 ; B.T.N.S. 5. 3 Wecden, p. 595/6. 


valuable commodities as cochineal and indigo. She was followed by other 
vessels of the same kind, but this course proved disadvantageous to the port 
and disastrous to most of the vessels. 1 

The possibilities of war seemed in Europe no nearer, although, in July, 
Du Quesnel was warned that they might change at any moment. Du Vivier's 
plan had been considered, and Du Quesnel was told to get all the information 
he could. In reply he informed the Court that an engineer had come to 
fortify Annapolis Royal in brick, and to erect fortifications at Canso, which 
should not be permitted. He asked for orders, either to openly stop the 
work, or to stir up the Indians against the English. A further cause or 
uneasiness was the action of an English man-of-war which had prevented 
the French from fishing off Canso, but Du Quesnel was not in a position 
to act firmly. The Minister had not responded to their demands for further 
troops and supplies. He would not consider their proposals for additions 
to the fortifications. Those already projected, he wrote, must be completely 
finished before any new work should be undertaken. The King was surprised 
that after so many years there was so much work in an incomplete state. 
Moreover, the state of the Royal treasury was such, that they could not send 
out the supplies and munitions for which the Governor had asked. Du 
Quesnel's answer was reasonable : they would do the best they could, although 
the supplies were essential. He accepted a suggestion of the Minister to 
minimize their demands for artillery, by moving the guns from one battery 
to another, which they would do if the field carriages were sent. His view 
was that the outlay already made on Louisbourg, as well as its importance, 
demanded that he should be put in a state to respond to the confidence 
placed in him. 2 

With the long break in its activities caused by the winter season it was 
easy for the hopeful to trust that when the season reopened things would 
be better, for they had closed in gloom. The colony was in the most 
miserable condition it had ever been. The purchases of supplies at exorbitant 
prices to avoid starvation made it impossible for the people to carry out 
the engagements into which they had entered. Bigot looked forward to a 
certain loss on the shipments of provisions which had been sent out to sell 
to the people in the two preceding years. The French merchants complained 
to the Minister that they could not continue shipments to Isle Royale unless 
they were paid for previous ventures. Moreover, they were also deterred 
by the fear of finding their market forestalled by arrivals from New England, 
and although official information had been given to all the shipping ports of 

1 The treasure ships which called in 1744 hampered the military operations and reduced the number of men 
in the town by shipping many in their crews. In 1745 the ships were captured. 2 Vol. 24, Oct. 7, 9, 22, 24. 


France in the previous autumn of the need of supplies at Louisbourg, this 
official intimation produced little effect. Bigot rose to the situation and was 
able to report that he had collected from the people 32,000 I., 1 more than he 
had expended for supplies, and in the autumn the French ships which had 
come out had sold their cargoes well. 2 

The torpor of malnutrition affected the commerce of the country. The 
people would not take up the manufacture of glue, nor the shipment of u nodes 
de morues," for which a market had been found in France. Bigot's efforts 
to push forward the coal trade had not met with much success. The coal 
was too light for the heavy forging on which it had been again tested at 
Rochefort. Its export was further hampered by the prohibition to take it 
on men-of-war or the store-ships of the navy, on account of the danger of 
spontaneous combustion, although merchant vessels made no objections to 
carry it to the West Indies. Above all, the fishery was a failure. A fortuitous 
circumstance relieved the military aspect of the food supply. Alarmed by 
the appearance of caterpillars in Canada, its authorities wrote in July 1743 
to those of Isle Royale that they must obtain for them from New England 
at least 4000 barrels of flour. They acted promptly, for Hocquart said that 
on them depended the salvation of Canada. Du Vivier was sent to Canso 
with a credit of 80,000 1. to buy this supply. He had completed the purchase 
before a second letter came from Quebec informing them that the pest had 
disappeared and the harvest promised well, so there was no longer a necessity 
for the supply. Sixteen or seventeen hundred barrels were delivered that 
autumn, and more would have been sent had the authorities of Boston and 
New York not been advised by the English court to be on their guard. 
They had in consequence prohibited further shipments to Louisbourg. The 
anonymous Canso agent of the French was at Louisbourg when this news 
was received. He said the authorities would not have interfered with further 
shipments had he been on the spot, as he would have cleared the vessels for 
Placentia, and further promised, should it be at all possible, to continue 
shipments the following year even if war broke out ; an incidental verification 
of the view that commerce was a more dominant factor in the eighteenth 
century than national animosity. Bigot proposed, and the Minister consented, 
to use this extra supply as a reserve which would give rations for the troops 
until October 1745. There were other foreshadowings of the strained relations 
with England than the forbidding of exportation to Louisbourg. The English 
man-of-war at Canso captured a vessel of Du Chambon on her voyage from 

1 On previous occasions of the same kind his predecessors had never succeeded in making more than trifling collections. 
- The returns of commerce do not indicate as serious a falling-off in vessels as might be expected from the phrasing 
of these letters. 


Isle St. Jean to Louisbourg, and Du Vivier returned to Canso, this time in 
his military capacity, and made such representations that the vessel was released. 
The slackness with which the colonial affairs of England and France were 
administered, is shown by the fact that Cosby and Du Vivier had copies of the 
Treaty of Utrecht which differed in the points of the compass determining 
the fishing boundaries, as had the documents to which Smart and St. Ovide 
referred in 1718. In a score or more of years this needless cause of mis- 
understanding had not been cleared up. 

The year was unsatisfactory in a military way. Men were scarce in France ; 
the King's treasury was low and this affected the strengthening of Louisbourg, 
but the Minister promised to do the best he could the next year, when they 
might expect enough cannon for one flank of each battery. Signals were 
arranged for the men-of-war, which were to be dispatched as soon as the 
rupture took place. The companies were full, so only thirty recruits were 
sent out, which left unanswered Du Quesnel's insistent demand for reinforcement. 
Their efforts to push on the work had produced results, the walls were 
complete, the parapet and one gate on the quay were finished, as well as the 
supplementary batteries at the Prince's Bastion and the Batterie de la Grave. 
He pointed out again that the work at the Dauphin Gate was necessary as 
well as the razing of Cap Noir, which commanded all the southern fortifications. 
This, Du Quesnel said, had never been proposed by the engineers, as the 
recommendation of this course would have exposed their mistake in not in- 
cluding this eminence within the walls of the town. 

As in all emergencies, the ordinary business of life went on much in its 
accustomed way, funds were allotted, ecclesiastical and civil matters dealt with, 
promotions were made, gratuities distributed. Six young ladies were enjoying 
the advantages of Forant's bequest ; and two chats-ceruiers were sent from 
Louisbourg for the King's menagerie, to succeed in La Muette the one whose 
fondness for music had been the delight of the Royal children. 1 

The condition of Louisbourg was in the highest degree unsatisfactory. 
It was the key to Canada, it gave a base for fishery, but it was inadequately 
supplied with provisions and munitions of war ; its garrison was not only 
inadequate, but of poor quality ; its artillery required an increase of seventy- 
seven guns to make all its fortifications effective. For ten years the plan of 
attack, if an attack was to be made, had been laid by its Governors before the 
Minister, and these documents had not all been pigeon-holed. They were 
known to Maurepas himself, and there exists a memorandum which is marked 
"presented to the King" (porte au roi), dated June 20, 1743, which gives 
a resumd of the history of Louisbourg. 2 This places the responsibility of its 

1 De Goncourt, Portraits intimes, p. 8. 2 I.R. vol. 26, p. 219. 


condition on Louis XV. himself. So much of evil in his career has been 
attributed to the malign influence of Madame de Pompadour, that it may be 
noted that at this time when, more than in later years, he neglected his colony, 
she was Madame d'Etioles, and had never seen His Most Christian Majesty, 
except in the hunting field. 


THE declaration of war with England was made on March 18, 1744, and 
expedited to Louisbourg by a merchant vessel of St. Malo, which arrived on 
May 3. It was accompanied and followed by letter after letter to encourage 
privateering. Blank commissions were sent out to Du Quesnel, as Maurepas 
was alive to the advantage of being first in the predatory field. His encourage- 
ment, however, stopped short of making a gift of the powder and shot which 
was sent out for the use of these vessels, for he sent instructions that they 
must pay for these supplies. A prompt shipment of food was promised, and 
permission was given to Bigot to send to New England for an additional 
supply. Orders were given for the two men-of-war to go to Louisbourg, and 
referring to the fortification of Canso, Maurepas said that the best way of 
settling the question was by the capture of that outpost of the English. The 
King, he added, wished that Du Quesnel should use the Indians to continually 
harry the English in all their settlements. These instructions, involving 
carrying the war into the colonies, and, if they were to be successful, demanding 
vigorous execution, found Louisbourg ill-prepared to do its part. 

On May 9 there was food in Louisbourg for no longer than three weeks 
or a month, although the people were living largely on shellfish. 1 This 
condition, unusual in the spring, had arisen through the Basque fishermen not 
coming out. The authorities foresaw that if help did not speedily come they 
would have to send the inhabitants back to France, unless they should migrate 
in a body to some foreign country. The fisher folk of Baleine and the 
Lorambecs, under the pressure of famine and the fear of war, had come in, and 
were plotting with those at Louisbourg to force the government to supply them 
from the military stores. Du Quesnel took steps to prevent an uprising, and 
lessened its possibility by giving some provisions to prevent the people dying 
of hunger. Some vessels arrived, and reduced the distress, although again 
in September it was only the receipt of the stores from Quebec which prevented 
their abandoning the colony, and even then Du Chambon wrote that " to-day 

1 Du Quesnel to Maurepas, vol. 26. 


it was more than ever to be feared that this accident would arrive." They 
were in no condition, said Du Quesnel in his letter of May I ,* to undertake an 
enterprise against Acadia. He was anxious to send out privateers, but he 
had only Morpain, who was already at sea, and Doloboratz, then engaged in 
the expedition to Canso, and therefore applied to the Governor-General of 
Canada for men. It seemed superfluous to say that as they had no pistols or 
cutlasses the men of Louisbourg were loath to go unarmed on such expeditions. 
He again pointed out to the Minister that their request for troops, artillery, 
arms, and provisions had not been granted, and the condition of the place, no 
less for defence than offence, was pitiable. Their difficulties were material. It 
required no more than the receipt of some further provisions and munitions 
of war to cause the Governor and officers to undertake the aggressive operations 
suggested to them by the Minister. 

Canso was the first object of attack ; its condition was to the last degree 
indefensible. Its garrison consisted of about one hundred and twenty men, 
commanded by Captain Patrick Heron of Phillips' regiment. In the harbour 
was a sloop of war of unspecified strength, in command of which was Lieutenant 
George Ryall, 2 detached by Captain Young of the Kinsale for the protection of 
the fisheries and the prevention of trade with Isle Royale. Its defences were a 
blockhouse built of timber by the contributions of the fishermen and inhabitants, 
in so poor a condition that to its repair, and that of the huts in which the 
soldiers lived, their officers had frequently contributed from their private 
purses. 8 The military authorities of England were as slow as those of France. 
It was not until July 19, I744, 4 that the Master of the Ordnance was directed 
to order that the Fort of Annapolis be put into a good posture of defence 
without loss of time, and that a fort of sod-work be erected at Canso with 
the assistance of some of H.M. ships of war, and that General Phillips' regiment 
be forthwith augmented to the highest establishment. 

On the 23rd of October 1744, a warrant was passed to add 10 sergeants, 
10 corporals, 10 drummers, and 392 privates to Lieut.-General Richard Phillips' 
regiment serving in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland ; establishment to take place 
from 25th August 1744. 

Statement annexed of the cost of maintenance of " A Regiment of Foot 


commanded by Lieut. -Genl. Phillips." 5 

1 To Vaudreuil. Du {^uesnel's spirit is shown in a k-ttcr to Maurepas : "trois points de mon discour Monseigneur 
troupes vivres et munitions de guerre avec quoy vous devez cstre persuade que cette Place ne craindra rien et que je la 
deffenderay au dcla dc ce qu'on pcut espirer " (May n, vol. 26, pp. 55-56). 

' 2 Captain's letters. 

3 Such was its condition as reported by Mascarene, Governor of Nova Scotia, and confirmed by the letters of 
Captain Young of H.M.S. kimale. 

4 B.T. Jls. vol. 52, p. 137. 

8 Consisting of companies of 70 private men in each. 


Field and Staff Officers . ... . . * 7 10 per day, i.e. 

Colonel, izs. zd. in lieu of servants . . . . o 14 o" 

Lt.-Col. . . . . . . . . . 070 

Major, 55.; Chaplain, 6s. 8d. ; Adjnt., 45. . . . o 15 8 -2 7 10 

Quarter-Master, 45. 8d. in lieu of servant . . . 048 

Surgeon, 45.; Mate, zs. 6d. . . . . . 066 

One Company, 3:18:6 per day, including 

Captain, 8s. zd. in lieu of servants . . . .0100 

Lieut., 45. 8d. 048 

Ensign, 33. 8d. . . . . 038 

3 Sergeants at o i 6 each' 

3 Corporals at . . . . . . . o i o 

z Drummers at . . . . . . . o i o -3 1 8 6 

10 Privates at ........ o o 

Other expenses ........04 

Eight other Companies do. . . . . . .3180 

One Company of Grenadiers. 

Pay and numbers the same as last, except they had two Lieuts. and no Ensign. 
Expense P. diem . . . 3 19 6 

Total for Regiment 1 . . . 41 13 10 

For the first time, in May of this year, the officers of Louisbourg set out on 
a warlike expedition. 2 The command was given to Du Vivier, one of the sons 
of the first officer who died in Louisbourg, where he and his brother were 
brought up by their mother in a modest house on the Place du Port with 
dependencies extending to the Rue Royale. In the peace of that place he had 
spent his entire life. The force was made up of 22 officers, 80 French and 37 
Swiss soldiers, and 218 sailors, mostly the crew assembled for manning the man- 
of-war Caribou, built at Quebec. They embarked on the schooner Succes, 
Doloboratz' privateer, a vessel of Du Chambon, and fourteen fishing boats. 
They met no resistance when they appeared before Canso. 3 On May 24 a 
capitulation was signed by which the garrison and inhabitants surrendered. 
They were to remain prisoners of war for a year, their property was to be spared 
and carried to Louisbourg on the schooner of Bradstreet, and Du Vivier under- 
took to use his best efforts to have the ladies and children senf at once to Boston 
or Annapolis. The same terms were given to the crew of the guard sloop. 
News of this exploit was sent to Boston. Shirley asked to have Heron sent back, 
but the latter would not abandon his troops. Du Quesnel returned all those 

1 In all 815 men, officers included (War Office, 24/232). 

2 Boularderie says that, as none of the officers had any experience in war, he was asked by Du Quesnel to go on the 
expedition (Derniers Jours, p. 1 88). 

3 A. M. St. M. vol. 50. The Habitant, never trustworthy, says Du Vivier had 600 soldiers and sailors. The total 
force was 351. 


captured at Canso, on condition that they would not bear arms against France for 
a year from September I, the time of their release, and forwarded to Shirley an 
agreement duly signed. Shirley at once repudiated this action, on the ground that 
Heron and his men acted under duress ; but Heron and the other officers intimated 
that they felt themselves bound by the agreement into which they had entered, and 
when there was need of their services the next year it apparently required official 
action to free their consciences. 1 The vital part of the transaction was the cost 
of maintaining these troops, which Shirley did not care to assume, and of which, 
in the conditions of Louisbourg, Du ^)uesnel was anxious to be rid. Shirley did 
not accept the views of Du Quesnel, but their correspondence was courteous, and 
was accompanied by an exchange of presents. Du Quesnel sent with one of his 
letters a barrel of white wine. Shirley's reply was supplemented by a cask of 
English beer and three turkeys. The Governor of Massachusetts, notwithstand- 
ing these marks of good feeling, was firm in maintaining the position he took in 
regard to the prisoners. He also refused Du Quesnel's proposition that in any 
warlike operations the fisheries of both nations should, as in the beginning of 
the century, be neutral and undisturbed, his ground for this being that the 
French had been the aggressors. 2 

It was not expected that Canso would make any resistance, but the con- 
ditions at Annapolis were not favourable to a brilliant defence. Its fort was 
built of earth of a sandy nature, " apt to tumble down in heavy rains or in thaws 
after frosty weather." It had been repaired from time to time with timber, and 
there was then assembled on the ground material for its permanent reconstruction. 
It was, however, laid out on such a scale that it would require five hundred 
men to defend it, and the garrison consisted of five companies, each, at its full 
complement, of thirty-one men. The conditions of defence were therefore not 
different, except to the disadvantage of the English, from those of Louisbourg. 
Its small garrison, commanded by Mascarene, was, for example, so ill-supplied 
with arms that there were not enough muskets to arm the reinforcements it 
received. Its troops were so ill-clothed that they were permitted to wear a 
blanket when on sentinel duty, and the provision of six or seven " watch coats " 
made of duffle, worn in turn, added much to the comfort of the garrison during 
the next winter. Its people had been thrown into a panic on May 18 by the 
report that Morpain, port captain of Louisbourg so renowned a privateer in 
the wars of thirty odd years before, that his name still struck terror into an 
English population was to appear before the place at the head of a band of five 
hundred French and Indians. The inhabitants of the lower town, among 
whom were the families of several officers and soldiers, began to remove their 

1 An order in Council was passed, iith of April 1745, directing both officers and men to disregard the capitulation 
forced on them by Du Qucsnel (B.T. Jls. vol. 53). 2 C.O. 5/909. 


goods into the fort. The report proved unfounded, but the arrival of the 
Massachusetts galley shortly after, bringing news of the declaration of war, 
gave an opportunity for some of the officers to send their families to New 
England. These were followed . by as many as two other vessels could carry, 
but even after they had left, seventy women and children were quartered within 
the fort. Bastide, the engineer, had come on the Massachusetts galley, and 
under his direction temporary repairs were made to the fortifications, which work 
was carried on by the aid of the French inhabitants, until a band of Indians, on 
July i, caused the withdrawal of the French. Mascarene had only a hundred 
men in the garrison fit for duty. The workmen from " Old and New England " 
on the whole behaved well, but the grumbling of some of the New England 
men, who took the ground that they had come to work, not to fight, " Caus'd a 
backwardness and dispiritedness amongst their fellows." The loss was small in 
the first attack by the Indians, who reached the foot of the glacis, but were 
dislodged by the cannon of the fort, which kept them from doing further harm 
than marauding, until the arrival of the first reinforcement of seventy men from 
Massachusetts caused them to retire. This reinforcement was followed by a 
second detachment of forty. Both of them, however, were 'sent without arms, 
and the supply on hand was not enough to furnish them with efficient weapons. 
The capture of Canso being effected, the next point of French attack was 
naturally Annapolis. Du Vivier set forth early in August. 1 He had with him 
thirty soldiers and various munitions of war on the schooner Sucds and another 
vessel. At Isle St. Jean he took on twenty more soldiers. His first duty was to 
quiet the Indians at Bale Verte, who were pillaging the Acadian inhabitants. His 
instructions from Du Quesnel for his later operations, were to confine the 
troops of England within Annapolis Royal, so that the assistance the French 
expected to receive from the Acadians should appear to the English as forced 
from them, and, still further to protect and encourage the inhabitants, to pay 
those who gave them any assistance. The hope of any Acadians joining Du 
Vivier was meagre, for only two hundred and fifty muskets were sent to arm 
them. Du Vivier was to approach Annapolis Royal, and if he found it possible 
to make a sudden attack, " A faire quelque coup sur Eux," he should do so, 
taking care, nevertheless, not to compromise the troops or the inhabitants of the 
country. If his report was favourable, and no contrary orders were received from 
France, Du Quesnel promised to send him some vessels to attempt the taking of 
the fort. If it could not be done without endangering themselves too much, and 
with a moral certainty of success, he was to withdraw, leaving one or two officers 
with the soldiers, and a hundred picked Indians, so as to prevent the English 

1 His expenses at Mines began on the zgth, which may be taken as the date of his arrival in the settlements of 
Nova Scotia. 



disquieting the Acadians. He was to retire by September 15, unless he had 
then received word from Du Quesnel ; and he was again cautioned to display 
the utmost prudence, to expose no one needlessly, and to protect the Acadians 
as far as possible. These instructions, which, it will be seen, were in effect 
simply to confine the English within the fort, that the Acadians might be 
unmolested, to make a reconnaissance and to report, were not such as to lead to 
a dashing or determined attack. 

Du Vivier arrived before the fort with colours flying, and then retired to 
his encampment about a mile distant. His Indians made disquieting attacks, 
night after night, on the little garrison, the commander of which had no intention 
of troubling the Acadians, who were left to gather in their harvests, which 
Du Quesnel feared they would not be permitted to do. Du Vivier sent word 
to Du Quesnel that the attack should be made, and was informed in reply that 
the Ardent and Caribou, two ships of force, would be dispatched to his aid. 
Du Vivier thus completely carried out his orders. He prepared scaling-ladders 
and combustible materials in preparation for the event, and on his own initiative 
entered into negotiations with Mascarene. 1 He sent his brother, who was 
serving with him, on September 14, to Mascarene with a letter saying that he 
expected reinforcements by sea, and proposed that Annapolis should surrender, 
offering very favourable terms, which were not to be effective until his good 
faith had been proved by the arrival of the French ships. He thus evidently 
expected no more resistance than he had found at Canso. His views were so 
far justified that when Mascarene consulted his officers he found that the 
majority of them were in favour of accepting the French proposal. 2 Mascarene, 
feeling that his hand was being forced, made the heads of the various departments 
sign a statement of the condition of the works and of the garrison, and then 
permitted, through chosen officers, various negotiations to go on, and consented 
(purely as a preliminary) to an acceptance by these officers of Du Vivier's terms ; 
but although " desired and pretty much press'd " to sign himself, he absolutely 
refused. The truce, which had been arranged for carrying on these negotiations, 
was then broken off. Mascarene found that the men of the garrison, whom 
their officers had represented as dispirited, were really uneasy over these 
negotiations with the enemy, and, to cut them short, had threatened to seize 
their officers "for parleying too long with the enemy." He "immediately 
sent the Fort Major to acquaint them with what was past, and that, all parley 
being broken off, hostilities were going to begin again, to which they expressed 
their assent by three cheerful Huzzas to my great satisfaction." Fifty more 
men of Gorham's Rangers arrived from Boston, and Mascarene threatened to 

1 Mascarene to Shirley, Dec. i~44, N.S. Archives, vol. i, p. 140. 
2 " All the officers, except three or four, very ready to accept the proposal." 


visit Du Vivier at his camp. Before he did so, word was brought to him that 
the French had gone. His first idea was that it was a feint, but he found to 
his astonishment that they had left the country, which, not unnaturally, he 
attributed to their fear of his making an attack. Thereafter the British 
were only disquieted by the Indians, who were dispersed by the rangers of 
Massachusetts, incited thereto by scalp bounties which Shirley went beyond his 
powers as Governor of Massachusetts in guaranteeing them. 1 

Du Vivier had withdrawn, not fearing conflict, but on account of orders 
he had received from Louisbourg. Capt. De Gannes, who felt that he had 
claims to lead the expedition superior to those of Du Vivier, had been appointed 
to take charge of the detachment which was to winter in Acadia. He set out, 
after making some difficulties, and, as his conduct shows, with no intention to 
allow any credit to Du Vivier, but with the purpose of asserting to the utmost 
limit his authority over him. He insisted on an immediate withdrawal, would 
not wait to destroy the storming materials which Du Vivier had prepared, nor 
to hear Mass, although the time of their leaving was a Sunday morning. 

Both expeditions returned to Louisbourg, where De Gannes found himself 
" sent to Coventry" by his brother officers and the people of the town. He 
demanded a meeting with the officers in the presence of the Governor. De 
Cannes' excuse at this assembly was that he had no orders to carry on the siege ; 
that he had retired from Port Royale because they had no provisions, and from 
Mines because the inhabitants begged them to do so. He presented certificates 
from his officers, that even when they went armed, to obtain bread from the 
inhabitants, they had scarcely any", success ; as well as one from the inhabitants 
of Mines begging them to withdraw. The officers remained silent with the 
exception of Du Vivier, who absolutely denied everything De Gannes had 
said. They then examined Abbe Maillard and Du Vivier. Maillard 
sustained Du Vivier's story and denied that of De Gannes. He explained that 
the refusal of the inhabitants to give them bread began only when De Gannes 
announced that they were to retire ; that previously there was abundance in 
the French camp. The Abbe added that when De Gannes arrived at Mines, 

1 " For which Reason I think it of such Consequence to his Majesty's Service that the Indians and other New 
England Auxiliaries enlisted in it at Annapolis Royal should have premiums for scalping and taking Captive the Indian 
Enemy as the People within this Province have, and, as I am inform'd, as promised to the French Indians by Mr. 
Du Vivier, that I am determin'd the present Demands of Captain Gorham and his Indians for three Scalps and one 
Captive already brought in shall be satisfy'd in some Method or other upon the hopes of a Reimbursement from his 
Majesty, and shall endeavour to procure for 'em the same premiums for the future from the Assembly upon the prospect 
of their being reimburs'd in the same Way, since I find I can't prevail upon 'em to extend their own Bounty to those 
enlisted in his Majesty's Service within his Government of Nova Scotia, which they seem to have an unalterable 
persuasion ought to be given at his Majesty's Expence " (Shirley to Newcastle, Nov. 9, 1744, C.O. 5/900). 

I have found no reference in the French documents to any bounty offered by Du Vivier. It does not seem probable 
that if a bounty had been offered this proof of zeal on the part of the authorities would have passed unnoticed in letters 
to the Minister. 


the latter held a council with himself and the other priests, Miniac, Lagoudalie, 
Leloutre ; that he represented to them the pitiful situation of the Acadians, 
whom it would better serve to join with the English than to enter again into 
allegiance with France, as Louisbourg was incapable of helping them. De 
Cannes had gone on to make the same statement to the principal inhabitants, 
with whom in the presence of the priests he arranged for presenting to him the 
request to withdraw his force, on which De Cannes relied as a justification, 1 and 
notwithstanding a letter from Du Chambon blaming him for being so precipitate, 
he persisted in his withdrawal. So when, in default of the ships of the line, 
which for a variety of causes had not been sent, on the night of October 25 the 
frigate Le Castor and two vessels with French troops arrived before Annapolis, 
they found all quiet. Bonnaventure went ashore. He, to find out the situation, 
aroused an inhabitant and brought him and a companion on board the frigate, 
and from him heard the astonishing story that De Cannes had remained only 
two days at the camp. The Acadians said that the fort, which contained only 
provisions for eight days, was ready to surrender, and that the women and 
children were prepared to fly to the head of the river, at the time the situation 
was relieved by the departure of the French. After a stay of three days the 
expedition returned to Louisbourg, taking with them their captures, two small 
vessels with supplies from Boston. The deputies of the Acadians promptly 
made their peace with Mascarene. 

It is difficult to account for the conduct of De Cannes. His views were 
justified by events, but unsuitable to be proclaimed by a French officer. Under 
any administration less lax than that of the French Navy at that time, his 
conduct would have met with the severest punishment. Du Chambon, who had 
succeeded Du Quesnel after the latter's sudden death on October 9, instead of 
deposing De Cannes, simply reported to the Minister. Bigot, ready enough 
generally to express his opinion, brought no influence to bear on Maurepas, and 
De Cannes continued to serve, and eventually passed to higher positions. 

The only ones to suffer were the priests. Year after year the priests of 
Acadia had been cautioned to confine themselves to their sacerdotal functions 
and respect the British power. But the three priests who fell in with De Cannes' 
views were deprived of their allowance from the French Government. 
Desenclaves was not present, but a captured letter forwarded by Warren 
expresses his views on the expedition : 

:t Surtout aprcs trop de Le"gerete* que avoit fair paroitre du Terns de Monsr. Du Vivier. 
II est 6tonnant que Ton se soit mis dans L'ldfe, qu'avec une petite Poigne"e du Monde qui 
n'avoit aucune Ide"e de la Guerre on Voulut essayer de re"duire un Province aux Fortes 

' Oct. 10, 1744, N.S. Archives, vol. i, p. 135, printed on p. 125. 


de Boston" . . . and, thus, on the way they were treated as priests, "Le Point le plus 
Important est celui de la Religion mais nous sommes entierement libre la-dessus, n'ayant 
cut d'autre Empechement dans nos Exercises, que celui qui est devenu de la Part de 
Francois ; Je pense Monsr. que ces Egards que Ton a la-dessus ne laissent pas d'atterer les 
Benedictions de Ciel sur les Puissances qui nous commandent." l 

Returning now to the events which had taken place at Louisbourg, we find 
that the proceedings of the French men-of-war were as ineffective as those of 
the land forces. Meschin was in command of the Ardent^ a vessel of sixty-four 
guns, which, although her departure had been planned for April, did not leave 
Rochelle until June 18, and then convoyed twenty-six vessels for the West 
Indies and Canada. After leaving them, he lost his bowsprit in a gale, shortly 
before arriving at Louisbourg on August 16. He found that the Caribou, 
a vessel built at Quebec, had been rigged and manned and was privateering 
under the command of Morpain. He promised to be ready to sail for 
Annapolis by the 5th or 6th of September after his repairs were made and his 
crew refreshed ; but when the time came, his version is that Du Quesnel said 
that it was undesirable to go, as the English had been reinforced, and that it was 
important to guard their own coast from privateers. On the 9th they went 
cruising, captured a privateer of twelve cannons, twenty-one swivels, and ninety 
men, attempted to find three other Boston privateers at Newfoundland, and 
returned unsuccessful on October 1 1 . 

Bigot and Du Chambon proposed to him to attempt Annapolis, to which 
he willingly agreed. The news of this venture having spread abroad, the 
captains of eight vessels of the Compagnie des Indies made formal representations 
to him, and, as well, to Du Chambon and Bigot, in which they said that they had 
orders to come to Louisbourg to be convoyed thence to France by the King's ships. 
Meschin proposed that they should accompany him to Acadia, as he might not 
be able to regain Louisbourg on his way to France. As these vessels from 
China and India were without moorings, their captains justly said that it would 
be an enormous risk to their valuable cargoes to accompany him into the 
Bay of Fundy. It was decided that he should take them to France, but, as the 
voyage turned out, he might as well have gone to Acadia, for the fleet of fifty- 
two sail which had left Louisbourg under his convoy became dispersed, and he 
arrived towards the end of December without any of them. 

A knowledge of this fleet of East Indiamen comes to us through a 
deposition made by two men " of full age " who appeared in Boston in 
September. 2 They had been in the East Indies, and being minded to return 

1 Desenclaves to the Superior of St. Sulpice, Sept. 25, 1765, Ad. Sec. In Letters, No. 2655. Desenclaves was a 
severe critic of his compatriots. Maillard also was not hopeful about French prospects ; see Canadian Archives, 1906, p. 45. 

2 C.O. 5/900, f. 122. 


home, had taken passage in the spring on a French East Indiaman the Mars, 
and sailed for France in company with the Baleine. Five other ships left the 
undesignated port in the East about the same time : three of which were from 
China, loaded with tea and porcelain ; two others from Bengal and Pondicherry, 
loaded with piece goods and coffee ; and the fifth from the Isle De Bourbon. 
Off the Cape of Good Hope they fell in with a French vessel, which advised 
them that war was about to be declared. At Ascension, where they arrived 
about the latter end of May, a packet boat from France was waiting for them 
with orders to proceed direct to Louisbourg. They arrived there, with one 
exception, in July and August, and in the latter month also came in two armed 
vessels of the company, with three or four merchantmen with provisions 
and reinforcements for the armament and crews of the ships from the East. 
The Mars and Baleine, after this strengthening, mounted upwards of fifty 
guns, each with a crew of three hundred and fifty men. The Fullavie (?), 
Philibert, Argonaute, and the Due cT Anjou mounted thirty guns with 
a crew of one hundred and fifty. The deponents seem to have returned 
from Louisbourg with the Canso prisoners, and at once gave this information 
to Shirley. 

Meschin was an officer of good reputation, and his letters shows willingness 
to act. The moral effect of Shirley's unarmed and untrained reinforcements, 
in deterring Du Quesnel from sending vessels against Annapolis, was of vastly 
greater importance than the services of these levies in the actual defence against 
the skirmishing of Du Vivier. 1 

The New England colonies had remained on the defensive during the year. 
All that they did was to lay an embargo with very severe penalties on trade with 
Louisbourg and Martinique. Dissatisfied as were the officials of Louisbourg 
with the number of privateers they were able to send out, those that they did, as 
well as the privateers from France, making Louisbourg or ports in the West 
Indies their head-quarters, seriously interfered with the extended commerce of 
New England. Even with the towns of Isle Royale there were eighty or ninety 
vessels regularly employed. The fishing fleet of New England was very large, 
and their coasters plied along the littoral of the North Atlantic from Newfound- 
land and the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the West Indies. In addition to Morpain, 
Doloboratz was in command of a privateer of twelve cannon and as many 
swivels, in which he assisted at the reduction of Canso, and then proceeded to 
cruise on the New England coast. There he was captured, after a spirited 
encounter in which no one on either side was injured, by Captain Tyng in the 
Prince of Orange, the first " man-of-war " of Massachusetts. 2 Nine vessels 

1 In addition to document* referred to, ice also othcr$ in I.R. vol. 26 ; Acadie, vol. 8 ; Marine, B 4 , vol. 56, 
and C.O. 5/900. a Prjntc(j jn fu ,, on ^ 


were taken on the banks by two Louisbourg privateers early in June, and a 
merchantman coming from Ireland, 1 with a number of women on board, who 
were sent on to Boston with the Canso prisoners. These unhappy women were 
thrown into terror by the statement of the master of the vessel on which they 
were to make the voyage, that he had the right to sell them as slaves. Du 
Quesnel informed Shirley of this, and . begged his offices on their behalf, which 
the latter effectively used. In another detachment Shirley received one hundred 
and seventy prisoners, and Du Quesnel sent in addition seventy-seven to Placentia, 
which would represent a not inconsiderable loss inflicted on the commerce of 
New England. 2 Some measure of it is shown by the fact that the sale of eleven 
vessels taken at sea, and at Canso and Annapolis Royal, produced at Louisbourg 
a total of 114,409!., according to the account rendered by the treasurer of 
Louisbourg. 3 These were the vessels taken on the King's account, others were 
captured by private parties, and Bigot in his defence says that he sold, to the 
great advantage of himself and partners, the prizes which he sent to France 
instead of to Louisbourg. 

The damage inflicted by the English during this year was vastly greater 
than the losses suffered by her maritime commerce, although it was greater 
than that of France. The Kinsale (44), Captain Robert Young, was again 
sent out to this station. She left Plymouth on the yth of May. On her 
way to St. John's, Newfoundland, where she arrived on the 23rd of June, she 
captured five vessels. By the 2nd of August, on a cruise to the westward, she 
had destroyed St. Peter's and everything between Cape Ray and Placentia, and 
had sent an expedition northwards, about Trinity, to take, sink, burn, and 
destroy what French they met ; a kindly office which was also performed by 
Louisbourg privateers for the abandoned English fishing stations on Newfound- 
land. At Fishott, Young's expedition met with resistance, which lasted for five 
hours, but they were rewarded with 18,000 quintals of cod and " 80 ton " of oil, 
and another expedition captured five French privateers. 4 The nature of these 
exploits justifies their inclusion in the record of privateering rather than that of 
military operations. 

On the coast of Isle Royale and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence English privateers 
were most active, and interrupted the commerce between Quebec, Louisbourg, 
and Martinique, so that Beauharnois and Hocquart wrote that it was necessary 
to have a convoy to protect their trade. Their representations were supple- 
mented by petitions of the syndics of the merchants of Quebec and Montreal, 

1 Possibly the Hope. Cork to New England, reported in London, Nov. 8. 

2 " A List of 769 Ships taken by the Enemy which the merchants of London have received an account of, from the 
Commencement of the War, March 31, 1744, to the nth of March 1745-6 inclusive," gives the name of six taken to 
Cape Breton, all on deep-sea voyages. 

3 I.R. vol. 27, f. 116. * Captains' Letters, No. 2732. 


who stated that, on account of Boston privateers, the previous year there had 
been only half the ordinary trade, and that in the next year there would be 
none. In September four of these privateers had taken five St. Malo fishermen, 
and had other prizes even in sight of Louisbourg. The situation was so serious 
that these officials did not hesitate to refer to the complaints of the merchants 
against ships of the navy. These vessels arrived late in the season, their 
officers were indifferent and remained in port. They went so far as to say that 
four vessels manned by sailors of St. Malo, commanded by a townsman to be 
selected by the King, would be a more efficient protection to commerce. 

Boston had sent out since June, when the news of the declaration of war 
was received, fifteen privateers, and four more were being built. Rhode Island, 
a nursery ground (Pepiniere) of privateers, sent out twenty - three, and 
Philadelphia seven or eight, which were fitted out with money borrowed from 
Quakers, whose scruples did not permit them to engage directly in the lucrative 
sport. Captain Jeffo, in the Swallow, brought to Boston not only the declaration 
of war, but the news that he had captured a French merchantman bound for 
Isle Royale, and set free an English ship homeward bound from Jamaica. 1 New 
York gave a great reception to Commodore Warren, who in the Launceston 
brought in the St. Franfois Xavier with a rich cargo of sugar and specie. Captain 
Spry of H.M. ketch Comet, received at Boston a handsome piece of plate in 
recognition of his capture, off Nantucket, of a noted French privateer fitted out 
at Louisbourg. She was more heavily armed and carried a crew of ninety, 
compared with sixty-four men of the Comet. The fight lasted over five hours, 
and was in doubt until Le Gras, the privateer captain, described by Shirley as a 
brave commander, was shot through the temple by a musket-ball. 2 

A Massachusetts privateer did almost as much damage as H.M.S. Kinsale 
and the expeditions Captain Young sent out. He broke up eight fishing 
settlements within the space of five leagues, burned the houses and works, sunk 
nearly one thousand boats, took seventeen ships, five of which were armed with 
from eighteen to twelve carriage guns, and took nearly seven hundred prisoners. 8 
French accounts do not permit the identification of the scene of these exploits. 
They would appear to have taken place in the Gulf, and the sufferers to have 
been the vessels of St. Malo and the shore fisheries at Gaspe. Even allowing 
for exaggeration, for there do not seem to have been outside of Louisbourg any 
settlements which would have yielded so rich a spoil, it seems probable that this 
one vessel did more damage to the French than was inflicted by all the Louis- 
bourg privateers on British commerce. 

1 Shirley to Newcastle, Nov. 9, 44, C.O. 5/900, f. 135. 

1 Among her crew were twelve Irishmen, one of them lately a soldier at Canso. They were detained in jail, and 
the others exchanged at Louisbourg for the men of New England privateers captured by the French. 
3 Shirley to Newcastle, C.O. 5/900. 


The practice of privateering lacked official encouragement as little on one 
side as on the other. Newcastle's letter to the Governor of Rhode Island 
enclosing the declaration of war, ends with a command to do everything in his 
power to encourage privateering, and to distress and annoy the French in their 
settlements, trade, and commerce. 1 The authorities of Massachusetts broke up 
the comfortable custom of the old war by which privateers avoided each other, 
and made those to whom commissions were given give bonds that they would 
fight privateers as well as capture merchantmen. 2 Governor Shirley sent for the 
owners of a vessel commanded by one Captain " W.," who had allowed a small 
French privateer to escape, with the result that the latter had since captured 
several American vessels. This the Governor pronounced to be " scandalous 
behaviour." The minutes of Council, 3 August 16, less discreet than the 
newspaper, says Capt. Samuel Waterhouse, of the brigantine Hawk privateer, 
was severely reprimanded for " not vigorously attacking a French privateer of 
much lesser force." Having promised " to manage his affairs for the future 
more agreeably to the honour of his Commission," his commission was continued 
on trial (News-Letter, August). This rebuke, or the chances of war, led, the 
next week, to his sending three prizes to Boston. 

The occupation was so attractive that one hundred and thirteen privateers 
were sent out by the British colonies the next year. 4 It was difficult to obtain 
crews, as they were fitted out faster than they could be manned, so that special 
inducements had to be offered to obtain a crew for the Prince of Orange, the 
ship of the Commonwealth. 

The effect of war naturally told on the commerce of Isle Royale, although 
the chances of the sea gave some opportunity, even amidst privateers and men-of- 
war, to carry on trade. In 1743 one hundred and seventy-two vessels from 
other places than Nova Scotia and New England had come to Isle Royale. In 
1744 there were fifty less, while the intercourse with these British colonies 
almost completely stopped, for in place of seventy-eight in the last year of peace 
only twelve came, and it is possible that these were prizes brought in and not 

War, however, was the predominant interest of the time. Doloboratz was 
captured in the vicinity of Boston, and while there as a prisoner a great deal of 
liberty was given him. After his return to Louisbourg he presented to the 
authorities a memoir stating the condition, not only of Boston, but of other towns 
as far south as Philadelphia. He said that he knew Boston perfectly, had 
previously been at Rhode Island, and had spent five days there at this time, where 

1 R.I. Records, vol. 5, p. 80. 2 News-Letters. s C.O. 5/808. 

4 The Boston News-Letter proudly says that this is a greater fleet than the Royal Navy in the time of Elizabeth. 
The Gentleman's Magazine says one hundred were fitted out. 


he consulted with a native of France, residing in that place (Newport), from 
whom he had bought a thousand barrels of flour to be delivered in April. His 
view was that the defences of these places were weak. He would risk his life 
on laying them under contribution if he had five or six vessels of war, a fire- 
ship, and some small merchant vessels. He excepts from these New York, 
which, being under a Royal Government, would be more difficult to attack, 
as order is well maintained there, better than in those other towns where every 
one is master. 

Although Du Chambon's experience had been entirely at Isle Royale he 
seems to have done what he could with vigour. As to warning the Minister, he 
did so as forcibly as his predecessors, and had more specific information to give 
him. 1 He sent on Doloboratz' memoir, 2 which contained the report that an 
enterprise against Louisbourg was being prepared in England, and that the 
four northern colonies had offered the English Government the services of six 
hundred men and a money contribution amounting to ^ 800,000 of provincial 
money, if they would send fifteen men-of-war for an expedition against Louis- 
bourg. The merchants of Boston believed so firmly that this offer would be 
accepted that they had laid in extra stores to sell to this fleet. Du Vivier also 
brought back word from Acadia, that an enterprise against Louisbourg was to be 
attempted in the spring, and the matter had been so fully discussed with his 
English acquaintances that he was able to add that the English hoped to arrange 
devices by which the Island Battery could be shrouded in smoke long enough 
for their ships to enter the harbour. The authorities impressed on the Minister 
that if he did not forestall the English, who would follow the ice to blockade 
the port and prevent their receiving any help, the position of Louisbourg would 
be a sorrowful one, as the English intention was to starve out the inhabitants, 
and thus compel the reduction of the place. Du Chambon was doing all he 
could for its defence, and attempted to provide a large quantity of faggots on 
the quay for the use of the fire-ships. He proposed a battery on the top of Cap 
Noir, and asked the Minister to send out more cannon and bar iron for use in the 
guns of the Island Battery. Their efforts were not confined to preparations for 
defence. They sent a new memorandum of the requirements for an expedition 
against Annapolis more powerful than the preceding ones, as Annapolis was 
to be strengthened, and recommended for its command Du Vivier, who, on 
account of his health, had been allowed to go to France for the winter. 8 
They also pointed out that an expedition could be sent against Placentia 
with fair prospects of success, for its defences consisted of pickets, a battery 
in bad order, and a garrison of forty-five soldiers and three officers. These 

1 See p. 124. a MSS. Que. vol. 3, f. 211. 

3 The Minister was urged to send him out with the first vessel in the spring 

1744 THE MUTINY 123 

were the final events of the active season of Louisbourg and this warfare of 
unwilling amateurs. 

The somnolent condition of a Louisbourg winter was broken into by an 
extraordinary event. Serious efforts, which have been recounted, were made by 
Forant and Bigot to remedy the conditions of the troops, and there is no 
evidence in the official correspondence to show that after this time, and the 
subsequent steps taken by Du Quesnel to suppress the canteens, there was any 
unusual degree of dissatisfaction among the troops. But as told by Du Chambon 
and Bigot, 1 on the 2yth of December, in the dreary dawn, the Swiss troops armed 
themselves, and took their ranks in the parade ground of the citadel. Their one 
officer who was on duty made them return to their quarters, after having promised 
them all they wanted. Instead of remaining quietly there, they went into the 
quarters of the French troops and so effectively reproached them for not having 
joined them as they had promised, that the whole garrison formed up in the 
court. They then sent the drummers of the garrison, threatened by the bayonets 
of twenty men, to beat to arms throughout the town. All the officers rushed 
immediately to the citadel, which some of them entered only by craft or supplica- 
tion. The others were unable, even sword in hand, to move the sentinels, whom 
the mutineers had placed. De la Perelle, the major, placed himself before the 
drummers in the town in an effort to stop them, but was unable to do so, as he 
was covered by the muskets and bayonets of the soldiers. They even surrounded 
him and carried him off his feet to some distance, but he at last prevailed on them 
to cease the drumming, and by agreement followed them into the fort, where the 
officers by this time had got the soldiers to form themselves in their companies. 

Order being restored, they promised to recognize De la Perelle as their 
major, and Du Chambon, who had been on the scene, asked them the reasons 
why they had so signally failed in their duty to the King. They said that each 
company required half a cord more wood, the return of five cords which had 
been kept back from them on account of their having stolen the same quantity ; 
that there should be given their proper rations to those soldiers who had been 
in the expeditions to Canso and Acadia ; that the recruits of 1741 should receive 
their clothing, which had not been given them, as it had not been sent out for the 
extra ten men then added to each company. All this was accepted, and Bigot at 
once began to carry out the agreement. The Swiss again came out under arms 
after the dispersal of the French troops, although their officer had promised 
them all they demanded, and they refused to recognize M. Cherrer (Cailly) 
for their commander. They had been uneasy for some time, and he had been 
in bed for a month, which prevented him appearing in person. 

The officials thought the object of the troops was to take possession of the 

1 Letter of Dec. 31, vol. 26, pp. 231-234. 


magazines and of the treasure and to yield the place to the enemy in the spring. 
They had not given up this idea of rebellion, although their demands had been 
complied with. The situation was intolerable.* All the officials were their 
slaves ; the mutineers caused all the disorder which they wished ; made the 
merchants give them, at their own prices, all they asked for ; for as there were 
only forty or fifty of these merchants and these not armed, they were unable to 
join together to resist. They were in consequence more dead than alive, and 
intended to go to France the following autumn, if they were permitted to 
live so long. The revolt was complete, for there was not a single soldier who 
had not joined the mutineers. All the Swiss corporals and sergeants had sus- 
tained their soldiers, and the only men who stood firm were the sergeants of the 
French companies and the small company of French artillerymen. At the time, 
the 3 ist of December, when Du Quesnel and Bigot wrote this letter there happened 
to be in the Port two small vessels bound for the West Indies. They wrote it 
secretly, as they were under observation night and day, and they did not send 
the vessels direct to France for fear that some vessel coming out would warn the 
mutineers that they had asked for help. If this were known the soldiers would 
first ransack the town, and then deliver it to the enemy, for they were aware of 
their strength, and knew that the six hundred civilians in the colony would be 
easily overpowered. The situation became less alarming, and the soldiers behaved 
not badly during the winter, owing to some extent to the tact of Bigot, and the 
fact that nothing was required of them by their officers. 

The condition of the King's finances was so low that in February Maurepas 
felt that he could do little for Isle Royale ; he accepted all the suggestions that had 
been made, even to sending a captain of St. Malo to cruise with Morpain in the 
Gulf, which the syndics of Quebec and Montreal had thought desirable. The 
Vigilant, La Renommte, and Le Castor were intended for Isle Royale, and as 
M. Chateaugue, who had been appointed Governor, was too ill to leave France 
the command of the colony was given to Perrier de Salvert, who was commander 
of the Mars, in which ship he was to proceed to Louisbourg. 


On Monday last Capt. Tyng in the Province Snow, returned from a Cruize, and 
brought in with him a French Privateer Sloop with 94 Men, mounted with 8 Carriage 
and 8 Swivel Guns, burthen between 70 and 80 Tuns, commanded by Capt. Delebroitz, 
which was fitted out from Cape Breton, and sail'd about 3 Weeks before : Capt. Tyng 
discover'd her last Saturday Morning about 9 o'Clock, as he was laying too off of Crab 

1744 APPENDICES 125 

Ledge, 15 Leagues from Cape Cod, it being very Calm : Perceiving she had a Topsail and 
was bearing down towards him, Capt. Tyng took her to be the Province Sloop commanded 
by Capt. Fletcher ; but soon afte^ as she drew nearer, he suspected her to be a French 
Cruizer under English Colours, whereupon, in order to prevent a Discovery he ordered 
his Colours to be struck, his Guns to be drawn in and his Ports to be shut close, and at 
the same Time the Bulk Head to be taken down. When the Privateer had got within 
about Gunshot of Capt. Tyng, taking the Snow to be a Merchantman, they fired upon 
him : upon which Capt. Tyng threw open his Ports, run out his Guns, hoisted his Colours 
and fired upon them : Perceiving their Mistake, they tack'd about, put out their Oars and 
tug'd hard to get off" after firing two or three Guns more. It continuing very calm, Capt. 
Tyng was obliged to order out his Oars and to row after her, firing several Times his Bow 
Chase at her, in which the Gunner was so skilful, that 9 Times the Shot did some Damage 
either to her Hull or Rigging : About Two o'Clock the next Morning he came up pretty 
close with them being very much guided by 4 Lanthorns which they had inadvertently 
hung out upon their Rigging in the Night ; finding they were bro't to the last Tryal, 
attempted to board Capt. Tyng, which he perceiving, brought up his Vessel and gave them 
a Broadside, they having before thro' Fear all quitted the Deck : The Mast being disabled 
by a Shot, it soon after broke off in the middle : Upon firing the Broad-side they cry'd for 
Quarter ; and then Capt. Tyng order'd them to hoist out their Boat and bring the Captain 
on board, but they answered that their Tackling was so much shatter'd that they could not 
get their Boat with it j they were then told they must do it by Hand : Accordingly they 
soon comply'd and the Captain being brought on board deliver'd his Sword, Commission, 
&c. to Capt. Tyng, desiring that he and his Men might be kindly us'd, he was promised 
they should, and then the other Officers, being a 2nd Captain, 3 Lieutenants, and others 
Inferiour, were brought on board, and the next Day the rest of the Men who were secur'd 
in the Hold. 

The Night after Capt. Tyng brought them into this Harbour, they were convey'd 
ashore and committed to Prison here ; and the next Morning 50 of them were guarded 
to the Prisons at Cambridge and Charlestown : The Officers and Men are treated with 
Humanity and Kindness. 

1 Tis remarkable that notwithstanding the great number of Men on either Side, in the 
attack and surrender, there was not one kill'd or wounded. 

Capt. Morepang in a Schooner of no Tuns, mounting 10 Carriage Guns, 4 Pounders, 
and 10 Swivels, with 120 Men, came out with Delebroitz from Cape Breton, and we hear is 
appointed to Guard the Coast there till a Vessel of greater Force arrived for that Purpose. 


To M. De Ganne, Knight, Captain of infantry commanding the troops and the 
savages united, at present in the country. 

We the undersigned humbly representing the inhabitants of Mines, river Canard, 
Piziquid, and the surrounding rivers, beg that you will be pleased to consider that while 
there would be no difficulty by virtue of the strong force which you command, in supplying 
yourself with the quantity of grain and meat that you and M. Du Vivier have ordered, it 



r 744 

would be quite impossible for us to furnish the quantity you demand, or even a smaller, 
since the harvest has not been so good as we hoped it would be, without placing ourselves 
in great peril. 

We hope, gentlemen, that you will not plunge both ourselves and our families into a 
state of total loss ; and that this consideration will cause you to withdraw your savages and 
troops from our districts. 

We live under a mild and tranquil government, and we have all good reason to be 
faithful to it. We hope, therefore, that you will have the goodness not to separate us from 
it ; and that you will grant us the favour not to plunge us into utter misery. This we 
hope from your goodness, assuring you that we are with much respect, gentlemen, 

Your very humble and obedient servants acting for the communities above mentioned. 
Oct. 10, 1744. 

Then follow the names of ten signers. 
Mr. Alex Bourg, Notary at Mines, 

I am willing, gentlemen, out of regard for you, to comply with your demand. 


Oct. 13, 1744.! 

Estat des pieces d'artillerie qui sont en Batterie pour la deffense du port et place de 
Louisbourg, et des poudres de Guerre qu'il Faut pour tirer cinquante coups par 
canon, et autant par mortiers et le moindre nombre d'hommes que L'on peut mettre 
a chaque Batterie pour Les Servir. 2 

Canons et Mortiers. Poudres. Hommes. 



Batterie Royalle 

. , de 



19,600 196 



Morticr ..... 

. ' de 

I2p. 8 


75 7 


Mortier ..... 






1 5 

Batterie dc L'lslc 


2 4 


1 5,200 



Mortier ..... 


9 P . 


1,300 "8 


Batterie dc La pec. . 








de la grave .... 


2 4 





Batterie dauphine 


2 4 





Barbette ..... 







Epcron ..... 





2 4 


Bastion dc Roy 







sur le cavalier) 

du cap noir J 







Bastion Maurcpas) 
Morticr / 




1,200 | 14 


Bombc poudre quil Faut . 

* i 

1,300 J 


1 6 62,300 




1 Translated in N.S. Archives, vol. I, p. 135. 2 I.R. vol. 26, f. 60. 

3 p. = inches in calibre. From this statement it is clear that the representations of the Governors from St. Ovide to 
Du Chambon, that Louisbourg was undermanned and inadequately supplied with munitions of war, were well founded. 




Total des munitions de guerre en 
provision dans cette place 

66,921 1. de poudre 

1,772 Bombes de 12 pouces 
833 Bombes de 9 pouces 
284 Bombes de 6 pouces 

1,867 Boulets de 36 

2,147 Boulets de 24 

2,520 Boulets de 18 

1670 Boulets de 12 

1214 Boulets de 8 

280 Boulets de 6 

1929 Boulets de 4 


A Louisbourg, Ce io e 9 bre 1744. 


THE events of 1744, and the condition of New England at the close of that 
season, did not indicate that so remarkable an event as the expedition against 
Louisbourg would take place in the following year. Massachusetts, the most 
enterprising and the most important of the northern colonies, had placed herself 
in a " posture of defense," and levies from her people had succoured Annapolis. 
There does not seem to have been any disposition to do more. The Memoire 
du Canada for this year states that an Indian Chief sent by Vaudreuil to Boston 
brought back a report that Shirley took an oath in the presence of eighty 
Councillors that he would not begin operations against the French, but that 
if even a child were killed, he would exert all his powers against them and 
their savage allies. 1 

Massachusetts was in no condition to undertake any serious expenditures. 
Her treasury was empty. A lottery was authorized by the legislature (Dec. 
14, 1744; Jan. 7, 1745), to raise 7500 for the pressing necessities of the 
province in " its present difficult circumstances." Her debt was excessive. 
Through her issues of paper money, the rate of exchange was much more 
unfavourable than that in the other colonies, and was sinking to a rate of 
ten to one, which was reached in 1 747. Her fisheries were declining ; and 
but one favourable material condition existed the harvests of the year had 
been abundant. 

There had been, however, talk of military movements. A Boston 
newspaper published, on August 2, a London letter stating that a body of 
troops was to be sent to the northern colonies, " to undertake an expedition 
of great importance against France on that side." This is probably the basis 
for the report of Doloboratz, for it might well have risen to his definite figures in 
passing to the social stratum in which the privateer moved during his detention 
in Boston. Du Vivier brought back to Louisbourg from the Annapolis expedition 
the same report ; and the Malouin fishermen taken by New England privateers 

1 June 30, 1744, " Divers Delegates from the Six Nations of Indians living to the Westward of Albany . . . had 
a conference this day with his Excellency in the Council Chamber in the presence of both Houses " (Minutes of Assembly, 
Mats., C.O. 5/808 ; MSS. Que. 3, p. 215). 



were told by their captors that an expedition against the French was in con- 
templation for the following year. As indicating the temper of the people 
of Massachusetts, it may be noted that Doloboratz said that it was only those 
engaged in the fisheries who were interested, that while the country folk would 
like to see such an expedition succeed, they did not seem to him inclined at 
all to support it in person, and but little as taxpayers. After speaking of 
the difficulty of getting men for Annapolis he goes on : 

" I have talked to many of these people. I believe on the whole that the townspeople, 
except the bourgeois and the superior artisans, are privateering, and that the country people 
will not engage without large promises and rewards. It is true that there was very easily 
found plenty of men to engage in the expedition to Carthagena and elsewhere in the 
Spanish Indies, but beyond the fact that they were disgusted with the ill success of this 
enterprise, they were attracted to it by the hope of the gold and silver of that country, 
and they are persuaded that there are more blows to suffer than gold pieces to capture 
in an expedition against Isle Royale, and they are free men (maistres de leur volont)." 
Of two hundred and fifty sent away from Rhode Island in the West India expedition not 
twenty had returned. 1 

The impressions of Doloboratz seem reasonable. He underestimated the 
resources of these plain people, " masters of their will," acting under the influence 
of two men, the one the Governor of the province, the other its principal 
citizen, President of the Governor's Council. 

William Shirley, the Governor of Massachusetts at this time, was an 
Englishman who emigrated to Boston in 1732, where he practised as a barrister 
and occupied subordinate official positions, until in 1741 he was appointed 
Governor. His preliminary experience was of great value to him, for he 
gained from it a knowledge of the people, among whom he was to represent 
the Crown. He was tactful, and thus found it easy to deal with the repre- 
sentatives of the people. He was as keen to persuade them to courses which 
he believed to be in the interests of the province, as to strain the authority 
of his commission in carrying them out. His policies were progressive, and 
in these troublous times expensive, and were based on the fundamental view 
that there was not room enough on the continent for colonies of both France 
and England. 2 He was industrious, a voluminous, persuasive, and clear writer, 
undismayed by responsibility, and to these solid qualities added a taste for 
military strategy, the results of which in the Seven Years' War tarnished the 
reputation gained by his antecedent career. 

William Pepperrell was a merchant of Kittery, born in 1697, the son 
of a Welsh or Devonshire man who had founded the business, which his son 

1 R.I. Rec. vol. v. p. 146. Massachusetts also suffered severely. 

2 Douglass is his bitter critic. He says that the financial condition of the colony was due to his policy, and that 
the Louisbourg expedition was a source of gain to Shirley. 



prosecuted with such success that he was one of the richest men in the country. 
He was not born in the purple of New England life, among those who, in the 
ordinary course of family events, go to Harvard College ; his education was 
that of the country school, with some special instruction. His biographers 
note that his grammar was imperfect in early life, a thing not uncommon in 
more exalted circles in the eighteenth century, and certainly not unique in 
New England. He had received that splendid practical training of an old- 
time merchant, whose dealings brought him into contact with men of all 
conditions in his own country, and with many foreigners. No occupation is 
more broadening in its effect on a mind weighted by responsibility and capable 
of learning from a life widely diversified in its daily occurrences. His sense 
of responsibility to public duties is shown in his acceptance of office. At the 
age of thirty he was elected to the House from his own district, and after 
one term was appointed to the Council, to which he was annually called until 
his death, thirty-two years later. For eighteen years he was President of 
the Board. He was also colonel of one of the militia regiments of Maine. 
Any man whose dealings extended from the lumber camp and the fisheries 
to the transportation and exchange of their products in the markets of the 
world, a man of wealth and of position, must possess great influence in any 
community, the people of which are largely dependent on his activities. The 
fact that Pepperrell's command of the Louisbourg expedition made enlistment 
popular, indicates that his character inspired confidence and his disposition 
liking, not only in his neighbourhood, but wherever his reputation extended. 

The prominence given to these two names is not meant to reopen a 
discussion as to the person to whom is due the credit for proposing the 
expedition. The project had for years been considered as possible by French 
and English. When in November 1744 Shirley wrote to Newcastle proposing 
that an expedition against Louisbourg should be sent out from England, he 
was following up what Clark, Governor of New York, had written home in 
1741. The latter, in his turn, held the same views as his predecessor Crosby. 1 
At the same time as Clark's second reference to the matter, Shirley had sent 
through Kilby a description of Louisbourg and the means of attacking it, 
which the latter vouched for, as it was made by a kinsman of his own. Kilby, 
who was agent of Massachusetts in London, wrote the 3Oth of August 1743, 
recommending projects against the French, and closed his letter by urging an 
early attack upon Cape Breton, " the situation, Strength, & every other Circum- 
stance relating whereto, I am possess'd of a perfect & Minute account of . . ." : 
Warren was in possession of this document or similar information, for he 
discussed this project not only in his letters to Corbett, Secretary to the 

1 N'.Y. Col. Doc. v. 961, 970; vi. iS;, 229. 2 C.O. 217/31, p. 157. 


Admiralty, 1 but also in private letters. Therefore, the proposals of Vaughan, 2 
of Bradstreet, of Judge Auchmuty, the writer of a valuable pamphlet on the 
Importance of Cape Breton, of a Merchant of London, who wrote in 1744 to 
the Ministry urging the reduction of Louisbourg, dealt with a matter that 
had been much discussed. 

The project was in the air. The British colonist of the eighteenth century 
turned his back on the potential opulence of the vast continent on the shores 
of which he lived, exploiting it only for a sustenance and for material with 
which to engage in maritime trade, of which the fisheries were the foundation. 
French and English from before the time that Louisbourg was settled pictured 
to themselves the superb monopoly which would fall to the nation which 
succeeded in dispossessing its rival. 

Such play of the imagination is the poetry of practical affairs, and the spring 
of political events. The people of New England were of an intellectual temper 
to feel this speculative impulse. It is as certain that the capture of Isle Royale 
was the theme of discussion long before conditions made the project at all 
practical, as that many then held the opinion that the colonies, if prosperous, 
would not remain faithful to the Crown ; although a score of years elapsed 
before events brought these slowly germinating impulses to a head. In the 
same way the startling accuracy of French forecasts of the method of attack 
on Louisbourg came from the discussions with which St. Ovide and the others 
relieved the dreariness of their idle hours. 

Shirley's proposition to Newcastle in December had been that six or seven 
ships could force the harbour and land troops, of which 1500 to 2000 would 
be enough. At this time he contemplated a regular expedition sent out by 
England, but the knowledge he gained in the next few weeks led him to 
propose, and finally to carry through, the expedition which was the crowning 
achievement of his career. 3 

The General Court of Massachusetts was in session on January 9. Shirley, 
apparently without taking any one into his confidence, asked its members to 
take an oath of secrecy as to the subject of a communication he desired to make. 4 

1 Ad. Sec., In Letters, 2654, Sept. 1744. 

2 Vaughan's work in promoting the expedition, and in self-effacing services therein, were unquestionably great. 
His own account of them is given in pp. 360-9. Read in connection with other accounts, they give the impression 
that he was a man of great energy, public spirit, and self-sacrifice, but lacking in judgment and the power of working 
with others. The type of man in our times most likely to be found among inventors. These documents make 
interesting reading, and throw some light on the events narrated, and are on this ground commended to the attention 
of the reader. 

8 This was based on the reports of the Canso prisoners, and of other persons who had visited Louisbourg. In New 
England there must have been many scores of sea-faring people who knew Louisbourg as well as any but their native 
towns, all of which confirmed the news that the garrison was small, all of it discontented, the Swiss on the verge of 
mutiny, and the inhabitants suffering from a carcity of provisions, the result of Shirley's own policy. 

4 Parkman, Half-Century, vol. ii. p. 85. 


This they did, and he presented an address on the subject of an expedition 
against Louisbourg. This document begins by recounting that in the course 
of the present war Massachusetts must expect from Louisbourg " annoyance in 
trade, captures of provision vessels, and destruction of fisheries " ; that the 
interest of the province would be greatly served by the reduction of the place ; 
that the time was opportune, for from information which Shirley had he 
believed that if two thousand men were landed on the island, they could damage 
the out-settlements and fisheries, and lay the town itself in ruins, and might 
even make themselves masters of the town and harbour. He asked for suitable 
provision for the expenses of the expedition, which if partially successful would 
pay for itself, " and if it should wholly succeed, must be an irreparable loss to 
the enemy and an invaluable acquisition for this country." 

The next day the House appointed a Committee of eight, of whom four 
were Colonels and one a Captain, and the Council added seven to their number, 
with instructions " to sit forthwith and report as soon as may be." The result 
of their deliberations appears in a short address to his Excellency from both 
branches of the legislature, on January 12, in which, while they express 
approval of the scheme, they are convinced that they are unable to raise a 
sufficient sea and land force, and " dare not by ourselves attempt it." They 
pray the Governor to lay before the King the danger of the colonies from 
Louisbourg, and to express the disposition of the province to aid in its 
reduction in conjunction with other Governments. 1 

During this time Pepperrell was presumably absent from Boston. He at 
all events was not present at these sittings of the Council. Shirley had, unaided, 
made his proposal, and had failed in carrying the legislature with him. He was 
much cast down by their refusal. James Gibson, once an officer in the British 
army, then a merchant in Boston, tells that the Governor came to him and 
asked him if he felt like giving up the Louisbourg expedition. This led to 
Gibson undertaking to obtain signatures for a petition from the merchants of 
Boston and Marblehead, asking for a reconsideration. 2 

Pepperrell came back to town, if he had been absent, and presumably was 
won over by Shirley. Gibson's influential petitions were presented to the 
Legislature, which was addressed on the I9th and 22nd by Shirley. A new 
Joint Committee, with Pepperrell at its head, was appointed. It examined 
witnesses, and reported on the 25th, to the effect that they were convinced that 
it was incumbent on the Government to embrace this opportunity, and proposed 
that the Captain-General, Shirley, issue a proclamation to encourage the enlist- 

1 Shirley at once took the matter up with Newcastle in a long letter about the advantages of Cape Breton, the 
danger of an attack from Louisbourg on British ships and colonies. He lays more emphasis on the advantages which 
would follow its capture than on these dangers (Shirley to Newcastle, Jan. 14, 1744/5, C.O. 5/900). 

* Vaughan was active in this work. See Biographical Appendix. 


ment of three thousand volunteers under officers to be appointed by him. It 
recommends the rate of pay of the men, that they shall have all the plunder, 
that warlike stores be provided, and provisions for four months, that a 
transport service be organized so that the force could leave by the be- 
ginning of March, and that application be made to the other colonies to furnish 
respectively their quotas of men. This report was concurred in by both 
branches the day of its presentation, and consented to by Shirley. The House 
voted that half a pound of ginger and a pound and a half of sugar be given 
to each soldier, and unanimously voted against impressing any part of the three 
thousand men. The majority was small. It is said that it would have been a 
tie had a member not broken his leg as he was hastening to vote in opposition. 
Other accounts say that the majority was narrow, some members known to be 
opposed having remained away from the House, a result which might well 
have been produced by the influence of important merchants who favoured 
the project. 1 

It seems certain that the influence of Pepperrell, exerted personally and 
through his associates, was paramount in bringing about this result. His later 
statement, 2 " it must be confessed that there would have been no Expedition 
against this place had I not undertook it," must refer to his course at this time 
rather than to his acceptance of the chief command which immediately followed. 
Shirley could unquestionably have found another leader. Without Pepperell's 
influence he failed with the General Court. When it was exerted in support 
of his scheme, Shirley obtained for it the necessary legislative sanction. 

Both French and English historians for the most part agree that the 
attacks on Canso and Annapolis Royal, the interruption of fisheries, and the 
devastation of privateers led the colonies to take a desperate step to avert 
an impending calamity. 3 There is much in a superficial reading of the official 
documents, e.g. Shirley's address already quoted, to sustain this view. This 
aspect, moreover, would be the most serviceable one to present to the legislators 
of provinces in acute financial distress. An expenditure to protect the state 
from an impending danger is always legitimate, but with a vigorous people 
the hope of gain is a stronger incentive than the fear of loss. It may be 
maintained that the real motives which led to the acceptance of Shirley's 
proposal, when all the facts were before the Assembly, were aggressive, not 
defensive. 4 

1 The House Journals do not mention the oath of secrecy or the majority. Governor Wanton says it was one (R.I. 
Rec. vol. v. p. 145). 

2 Pepperrell to Stafford, Nov. 4, 1745, Preface to An Accurate "Journal and Account, etc. 

3 "Lettre d'un Habitant," Parsons's Life of Pefperrell. 

4 "The Motives, which have induc'd the Assembly to set this Expedition on foot before Spring, are the weak 
Condition of the Garrison and Harbour of Louisbourg in comparison of what it will be when they shall have rec'd 
their supplies of Provisions, Stores and Recruits from Old France by that time, besides that the Season of the Year 


It is said also that fishermen thrown out of employment by the war formed 
a considerable part of the troops raised ; but the fact that New England privateers 
could not find crews, that the press-gang was organized, if not used, to secure 
sailors for the vessels of the province, 1 is not compatible with this statement. 
When the British colonies sent out about ten times as many privateers as the 
French, the latter being vastly less effective, it is not reasonable to believe that 
New England was seriously dismayed by French privateering or failed, in 
irritation at her small losses, to calculate her surpassing gains. 

These considerations lead to the conclusion that, describing Louisbourg 
as the Dunkirk of America as an oratorical flourish, New England had 
no real fear of invasion, but that the monopoly of the fisheries meant such 
prospective wealth, 2 that sound business insight in the leaders of her people 
led to their grasping an opportunity to benumb French competition in the 
markets of the world. This opportunity presented itself when war existed : 
Louisbourg was short of provisions, 3 its fortifications weak, its garrison small 
and mutinous. 

Shirley carried with him the most influential merchants, for their care for 
public advantage was stimulated by the prospect of private gain. They found 
a following, for at no time in its history were the people of Massachusetts more 
recklessly enterprising. Every motive was appealed to, as is always the case 
when the success of a policy depends on the support of an independent people. 
The expedition against Louisbourg, to the fanatic was directed against Romanism; 
to the timorous was a preventive of invasion ; to the greedy a chance for 
plunder ; and to all, an object for the self-sacrifice of every patriotic Briton. 

Shirley's activity in the week which followed the decision to undertake the 
expedition was prodigious. On February I he wrote a long dispatch to 
Newcastle. He laid before him plans for the expedition, informed him about 
the artillery he could provide. 4 He had also communicated with the other 
governments, and had received a favourable reply from New Hampshire and 
Rhode Island. The plan for the expedition was based on that handed into the 
Committee, 5 but modified by Shirley with the help of Bastide, the engineer of 
Annapolis Royal, who was in Boston at the time. 

Shirley had already discovered the impossibility of arranging matters for 

will be most Advantageous in March for Attacking the Town, the present Spirit of the People in this Province to 
attempt it at this time, and the Advantage which the Surprize of such an Expedition as well as from New England 
and Great Britain (in case his Majesty shall support it from thence) will give his Majesty against the Enemy " (Shirley 
to Newcastle, Feb. i, 1745, C.O. >/9OO, f. 15-). l Parsons. 

- "Besides we had not the same dependence upon, and expectation of advantages from the fishery as Massachusetts 
and New Hampshire had, which undoubtedly was a main inducement to their people to list so cheerfully as they did" 
(Governor Wanton, R.I. Records, vol. 5). 

3 The burden of Shirley's reproaches to Captain W. was that the privateer he let slip captured several vessel! 
laden with provisions, to the benefit of the French at Louisbourg, " who so much wanted "em." 

4 Eight 22's, one 24, two 9 and 11 inch mortars. 5 Apparently by Vaughan (Parkman, Half-Century). 


the expedition to sail by March i, as recommended by the Committee, and at 
this time was in hope to get it away by the middle of the month. All saw the 
great importance of blockading the port before the arrival of the ships from 
France, which, from what was known of Louisbourg and its condition, the New 
Englanders felt would be sent out at the earliest moment. Some merriment 
has been created by the proposal of Vaughan to take Louisbourg by surprise. 
It may be said the plan with undisciplined men under untrained officers required 
too many accurate conjunctions to be successful. In defence of its projector, it 
may be recalled that Du Vivier, certainly familiar with the conditions of Nova 
Scotia, proposed to enter Annapolis when its ditches were filled with snow ; that 
the drifts at Louisbourg, at least once, were deep enough to make it necessary 
to dig sentries out of their boxes, and that its Governors had united in holding 
that a surprise of the place was more to be feared than a regular attack. It is 
to be noted that this element in the preliminary plan on which the legislators 
voted to undertake the expedition was abandoned by Shirley. "As to that 
Part of the Scheme, which is propos'd for taking the Town by Surprise, so 
many Circumstances must conspire to favour it, and so many Accidents may 
defeat it, that I have no great dependence upon it, and shall guard as well as I 
can by Orders against the Hazard that must attend it." His project was at 
this time, February i , to make a base at Canso, land near the town and make 
an attack on the Royal Battery, the weakness of which on the landward side 
was known to him and his advisers. The bombardment of the town was to 
follow, without, it would appear, any prospect of carrying it, but with fair hope 
of holding the position until the arrival of an English naval force. 1 In event 
of being unable to do this, he felt sure that the buildings and fishing gear, not 
only of the environs of Louisbourg, but of other places on the island, could be 
destroyed, and that the colonial forces could retire to Canso and there encamp 
until advices were received from Great Britain as to whether or not the King 
would support the expedition with ships and troops. 2 

Shirley carried with him Benning Wentworth, Governor of New Hampshire, 
so far that he was induced to strain the credit of his province in a case of such 
urgency, by issuing more paper money, Vaughan being his representative in 
these delicate negotiations. Having succeeded in this, Shirley complicated the 
situation by a flourish of diplomatic courtesy, in intimating to Wentworth that 
had it not been for his gout, Shirley would have appointed him to the chief 
command. Wentworth assured Shirley that this would not prevent him 
serving. Shirley was thus forced to throw the onus of not accepting this 
offer on various people of consideration whom he consulted in the matter. 

1 To Newcastle, Feb. I, 1745. 

2 Although Shirley did not think well of a surprise, it is included in his instructions to Pepperrell, as he was about 
sailing (M.H.S. first series, vol. i). 


They were clearly of the opinion that a change in the command would be 
prejudicial. 1 

The pay offered was 255. per month and a blanket, besides the ginger so 
promptly voted by the House. Other inducements were offered, such as that 
those who enlisted were not liable to be pressed for service on the vessels of the 
province, and for them processes of law for the collection of debt were suspended 
until their return from the campaign. 

While the determination of causes which led to the taking up of an 
expedition like this is hypothetical, there is no question that the decision having 
been made, the people threw themselves heartily into the project. The complete 
militia system of New England made this easy, and it was along the lines of an 
existing organization that recruiting proceeded. There was some hesitation in 
certain districts at the outset, on account of doubt as to whom the command of 
the expedition would be given, as well as about the company officers. Various 
officers took active steps to secure their men ; one Captain Sewall began his 
work by giving the men of his militia company a dinner ; he also increased their 
pay from his own pocket, and offered to provide for any wives and families 
that might be left destitute. Others were as eager, if less free-handed, and very 
shortly complaints arose of the officers poaching on each other's companies. 
The allotment of commissions gave trouble to Shirley as well as to Wentworth, 
who said he would rather be a porter than a Governor. But these are the 
drawbacks of earnestness and activity. Shirley was active and foresighted, his 
legislature prompt in passing acts, and the officers of the forces and members of 
committees were efficient. The course of events as detailed in the records of 
these busy weeks displays the actions of a capable people, trained to the dispatch 
of business. Chief among the active was Vaughan, who was too unbalanced to 
be trusted with an executive office, but whose zeal had done much to ensure the 
undertaking of the expedition, for he had gathered witnesses, secured signatures 
to the petitions, and harangued. When it was determined upon he rode post 
here and there, and his impetuous haste must have appeared to Shirley and 
Pepperrell, who considered means as well as ends, that of a meddler. 

" I have desired ye gentl at York to march one compa next Mondy to Boston, to give 
life & Spring to ye affair. I hope yoou'l encourage ye same. I have written to Doctor 
Hale to desire ye Govr. to ordr. to be at Boston next week, for dispatch is ye life of 
businesse. I have proposed ye 2000 men, if no more, be ready to sail by ye twentyeth day 
of ye month. Portsmo, Feb. 8, i"44." 2 

The general eagerness to serve and the importance of Pepperrell's opinion 
are shown in the letters received by him from willing participants in the 

1 Ualf-Ccntury, vol. ti. p. 91. 
8 M.H.S. sixth series, vol. 10. Vaughan accompanied the expedition as a member of the Council of War. 


expedition. One gentleman, rejected as a surgeon, wrote begging that he might 
go in any capacity, and reported to the General that he had already made some 
progress in enlisting. A clergyman informed Pepperrell with inexpressible 
pleasure, that he had been appointed a captain ; another friend expressed his 
regret that the legislature of New Hampshire, of which he was a member, 
would not allow him to serve. A gentleman, whose iconoclastic zeal has been 
quoted by Parkman in Half-Century (vol. ii. p. 98), wrote in terms of such 
perfervid piety that it is difficult, with our changed standards, to find in them 
the note of sincerity ; particularly, as his excuse for not going on the expedition 
is the only one of those given which seems inadequate. 1 

Mr. John Gibson followed up his work in stirring up the merchants of 
Boston and Marblehead to approach the legislature, by raising a company at 
his own charges and commanding it on the expedition. He had the unusual 
distinction, when the Parliament of Britain defrayed the expenses, to be named 
in the Act with the colonies. The response of the other Northern Colonies 
was considerable and prompt. In view of the emergency Wentworth ignored 
the royal prohibition to issue any more paper-money, and the little Province of 
New Hampshire sent a regiment of 500 men, 150 of them being at the 
charges of Massachusetts. 2 Connecticut raised 516 men, and to their 
commander, Roger Wolcott, was accorded the rank of Major-General, which 
made him second to Pepperrell. 

Rhode Island on the 5th of February authorized her sloop Tartar* to 
assist in the expedition ; a month later, the raising of 1 50 men. Its legislature 
reconsidered this action on learning that Shirley was acting on his own initiative, 4 
but later, at an unspecified date, passed an act encouraging soldiers to enlist 
for service in the expedition. The full regiment of 500 men authorized 
by this act did not serve, but apparently three companies went, which were 
incorporated in Pepperrell's regiment, under commission from the Governor of 
Rhode Island, which was dated early in June. They thus arrived at Cape Breton 
too late to take part in the siege. The response from the Southern Colonies was 
much less satisfactory. New York loaned some guns to Shirley ; but its legisla- 
ture debated ten days as to what they could do, and voted ^3000 ; but a new 
legislature being elected, this sum was by it increased to ^ooo. 5 New Jersey 

1 M.H.S. sixth series, vol. 10, contains letters which display the attitude of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. 

2 304 men were in the New Hampshire regiment. 

3 The Tartar was the colony vessel. She carried fourteen guns and twelve swivels. 

4 Their defence, a sound one, is in R.I. Rec. vol. 5, p. 145. Extracts therefrom at the end of this chapter. 


LOUJSBOURG, September 13, 1745. 

..." You see, sir, I speak here as an American and a well wisher to the colonies : and am therefore really sorry the 
particular one I mean, New York, to which I am nearest related, has not had a greater share in this great acquisition ; for 
it's a mistaken notion in any of the colonies, if they think they are not greatly interested, even the remotest of them, in 


gave 2000 in July, which was laid out in provisions, and Pennsylvania, prevented 
by the peaceable principles of some of its people from providing arms, gave 
4000 for provisions and clothing. 

The brigadiers to the expedition were Samuel Waldo, like Pepperrell a large 
land-owner and merchant, and Joseph Dwight, who was Colonel of the artillery. 
Its active head was Richard Gridley, to whom we owe that map of Louisbourg 
which has been so frequently copied. The success of the enlistment was so great 
that 3250 men were raised. The Committee of War, whose chairman was Mr. 
John Osborne, was active in providing for these troops. A naval force and 
transport was of the utmost importance. Massachusetts bought a new brig of 
about four hundred tons, armed her as a frigate, and placed her under the 
command of Capt. Edward Tyng, who had previously served the Commonwealth, 
and distinguished himself as the captor of Doloboratz. He was in command of 
the flotilla. 

Pepperrell discharged the military duties he had assumed as he would carry 
on any business operation. He asked advice from Mr. J. Odiorne, 1 a merchant 
of Portsmouth, who was familiar with the coasts of Acadia and Cape Breton. 
Odiorne urged a prompt attack, at which he thought their men would be better 
than at a regular siege, and, as a second resort, to hold their ground until rein- 
forcements arrived, "if itt should cost us halfe our substances." Advice was 
volunteered to him by the Rev. John Barnard, probably on the ground that that 
gentleman had in 1 707 been at the siege of Annapolis. In the universal 
enthusiasm and the certainty that the expedition was favoured by Heaven, 2 it 
may be noted that he is one of the few who modified his statement on this point 
by saying, " I doubt not but the cause is God's, so far as we can well say any cause 
of this nature can be." Shirley made efforts in every direction to obtain armed 
vessels, as the colonial armed vessels were inadequate to protect the transports or 
themselves from the forces they might expect to meet. The men-of-war on the 
American station which were within easy reach were under orders from the 
Admiralty to act as convoys, 3 and he found himself without any promise of 
assistance from them with the exception of the Bien Aime, a prize commanded 
by Captain Gayton. 

the reduction and support of this conquest, which will quiet them all in their religious and civil rights and liberties, to 
latest times, against a designing, encroaching, and powerful enemy, and increase our trade in the fish, fur, and many other 
valuable branches, to such an advantageous degree to the colonies, and our mother country, as must ever induce them to 
be extremely grateful to those who have opened so fair a channel for the increase of wealth and power " (Rhode Island Colonial 
Records, vol. 5, p. 144). 

' Mr. Odiorne spells the name of the place ' Lcwisbrug," possibly a phonetic effort, for the same pronunciation is still 
cx'.nnt locally. The New England form of " Chapcau Rouge," which appears in the documents for the Bay, always spelled 
by the French Gabori or Gabarus, seems to have come from the " little knowledge " of the " linguisters " of the expedition, 
who would be more familiar with the spoken than the written name. The local pronunciation of Mainadieu preserves its 
more ancient form of spelling Menadou. 

2 M.H.S. vol. 10, pp. 108 and 114. 3 E.'tfam, Riptsr.'s Pr'nt. 


Shirley applied to the Commodore of the station for assistance, 1 sending a 
dispatch to him to the West Indies, where the fleet was then cruising. This 
officer was Peter Warren, a native of County Meath, who had entered the navy 
at fifteen as an ordinary seaman. His professional advancement was rapid and 
at forty-two he found himself a Commodore, somewhat broken in health, and 
anxious to obtain an appointment as Governor of the Jerseys or to reach the 
" pinickle " of his ambition by succeeding Clinton as Governor of New York. 
Mrs. Warren, a native of New York, did not care for the " Beau Mund," so that 
at this time he looked forward to retiring from the sea and spending the remainder 
of his days, if a Governor's chair were denied him, on a property he owned at 
Greenwich, Long Island. 2 Notwithstanding these views, he had applied in 
September for command of all ships in North America, which was given to him. 8 
Before he received Shirley's letter the project of an expedition against Louisbourg 
was familiar to him. As already stated, he also wrote about it to Corbett, 
Secretary of the Navy, 4 and to his friend the Hon. Geo. Anson, then Lord of 
the Admiralty, with whom, notwithstanding the differences in social and pro- 
fessional rank, he was on terms of frank intimacy. Warren was fully alive to 
the importance of reducing the French power, and set forth clearly in a letter to 
Anson its many advantages. He goes on : 

" Yet I think it wou'd be in vain to attempt Lewisbourg, without a moral Certainty of 
Success. As it is a very regular fortification, and has always a Strong Garrison of regular 
troops in it, I submit whether it is not likely, that it will hold out a Siege longer than the 
season will allow the Besiegers (if not numerous enough to take it by storm) to keep the 
Field, and what can they do in that case in the winter ? It is certain if Ships go into the 
Harbour to attack it the people must determine to Succeed or dye. Where that is the case, 
there shou'd be (I believe the world will allow) a Strong possibility of Success. 

" What I have here sett forth, being granted, how is it to be effected ? What number 
of ships from England of Regular troops or artillery and other Ordnance Stores will be 
necessary ? And what quantity of Provisions, and other Stores, of all kinds, will be proper 
for such an undertaking ? And what part will the Colonies themselves take in such an 
attempt ? Whether they will assist in it heart and hand ? What assistance, and in what 
Shape, will each different Government that is willing to assist give its assistance. Whether 
in Money, Shipping, Men or Provisions ? 

"By forming all this into a proper plan, it will not be very hard to judge of the 
probability of succeeding, or not, in such an attempt. And the formation of it previous to 
the Execution, cannot be any Expense to Great Britain, or the Colonies. And when it is 
form'd, and approv'd, then let it be Executed with all the Intrepidity, that becomes good 
Officers, and Men, both of Sea and Land. 

1 Jan. 29, Ad. Sec., In Letters, No. 3817. He also asked assistance from Sir Challoner Ogle and Admiral Darvers, 
who replied in the negative (Ad. Sec., In Letters, vol. 233). 

2 In an article on Greenwich Village by T. A. Janvier, Harper's Magazine, Aug. 1893, is a pleasant account of 
Warren's life there. 

8 In Letters, 2654 j Out Letters, 486. 4 Sept. 8, 1744, from New York (Ad. Sec., In Letters, vol. 2654. 

1 4 o WARREN'S VIEWS 1745 

" But to undertake an affair of such consequence and Expence, too rashly, that must, if 
they fail in it, Involve both England and the Colonies, in a large debt to no purpose, I 
think wou'd be madness, both in the Advisers, and the Executors, of such an attempt. 

"What you mention with regard to an Expedition in Embrio against Cape Britton, is 
what I have long consider'd as of the greatest consequence to our Country, this my good 
friend Mr. Corbet and myself have exchang'd some private letters upon, and I have, tho' in 
a very Inaccurate manner, formerly run over some of the benefits that wou'd accrue from it, 
and some steps necessary to be taken previous to the attempt, which I beg leave to address 
to you, for your Private and Candid opinion, as the Inaccuracy of it will not bear the light, 
tho' the matter, if well digested, is worthy of the Ministrys most serious deliberation. 

" What the event will be of Mr. Shirleys scheme, who is a very worthy man, I won't 
take upon me to prejudge, but when time lets me more into it, you shall know. 

" I beg leave to assure you, nothing shall be wanting on my part, so farr as I have power 
or Capacity to serve my King and Country, and I am persuaded, I can do it in no shape 
better, than in that scheme, if attended with success, and I have none more at heart, tho' I 
cou'd have pitch'd upon none attended with a prospect of greater uneasyness, and less personal 
advantage, I mean where Booty is esteem'd so, which I hope will never be so with me." ] 

Shirley's letter to Warren, dated January 29, went over much the same 
ground as his dispatch to Newcastle of February i, but dwelt, as was natural, on 
the military aspect of the expedition, and clearly set forth the importance of the 
naval assistance, which he assumed Warren would send. " I must acknowledge 
that the hopes I have Entertained of it have been of no small Encouragement 
to me in forming this Expedition." He goes on then with the arts of the 
politician, displayed as in the case of Wentworth, to say, " and if the service in 
which you are engaged would permit you to come yourself and take upon you 
the command of the Expedition, it would, I doubt not, be a most happy event 
for His Majesty's service and your own honour." Two fifty or forty gun 
ships in March were what Shirley asked for, or even one, and with Warren to 
follow with his force, Shirley was persuaded the place might be taken in May, 
or invested until help from England could be received in June. 8 This letter 
found Warren in trouble, his effective force diminished by the loss of the 

1 B.M. MSS., i>,<)<;7, <" i?2. 

8 Shirley's care to placate all who could help him makes inexplicable to the writer his springing the project on 
the Aisembly. 

Shirley, hail he to deal with a touchier man than Peppcrrell, might again have gratuitously created embarrassment as 
in the case of Wentworth. He placed himself in a position to make trouble with Pepperrell and with Warren. He 
wrote to the former, April 22 : " I doubt not, Sir, from the extraordinary conduct and vigilance with which you have 
hitherto acted for His Majesty's service, that you will instantly give orders to Tyng and the other cruisers to follow the 
Commodore's directions and orders to them, and omitting of which may create a most unhappy disagreement and variance 
between you and Mr. Warren, which may prove fatal to the service. Had I not received these precise orders from hit 
Majesty, which so evidently give Mr. Warren a general command at sea, in all expeditions from hence, I should have 
insisted upon my command given you over the sea forces (which, as it is, is only suspended during Capt. Wr.rren's presence, 
and would revive upon his going off) against every person whatsoever, and you must be sensible that this is not a preference 
given to him by me, but only acting in obedience to his Majesty's orders" (M.H.S. i. p. 19, Shirley to Pepperrell). 

3 Ad. Sec., In Letters, N'o. 3817. 


Weymouth, Warren consulted his captains, 1 who unanimously reported that 
the proper course for Warren was to send the North American ships to their 
stations, the Mermaid to New York, and the Launceston to New England, and 
to forward Shirley's letter to the Admiralty by an express ; and that, until receipt 
of a reply, Warren should not alter the ordinary course of proceeding, but 
remain cruising in the West Indies. The grounds for this decision were that 
the expedition had not received his Majesty's approbation, nor had they received 
orders thereon from the Admiralty ; that taking the ships off their stations 
would greatly weaken the British West Indies, at a time when a report was 
current that a French squadron was expected shortly at Martinique, " and can be 
of no great service in such an undertaking" 

This italicized expression of opinion is so extraordinary over the signatures 
of the captains of a naval squadron, that it must be interpreted in the light of 
Warren's opinions that Louisbourg was a strong place, defended by a garrison 
of regular troops, with no convenient anchorage in the vicinity for ships of war 
and transports, that the expedition had been hastily planned, and might be 
abandoned before they arrived, 2 so that the opinion was held by them that it 
was foredoomed to failure. It has never been the opinion of seamen that in 
conjoint expeditions their branch was of lesser importance. Warren gave orders 
to the Launceston and Mermaid to go north, and was on the point of setting out 
on a cruise when Capt. Innis arrived in the sloop Hind? He had been 
dispatched from England, early in January, with orders for Warren, which, if he 
were in danger of capture, he was instructed to sink. 4 

The instructions in the usual sources 5 contain only Warren's commission as 
Commander-in-Chief, for which he had asked power to hold court-martials and 
warrants to impress seamen ; but Warren's letter speaks of definite orders to 
proceed with Launceston^ Mermaid^ Weymouth^ and Hastings to Boston. Corbett, 
Secretary to the Admiralty, in sending these documents 6 heartily wishes him 
success in all his operations against the enemy. The colonial Governors were 
advised by Newcastle that Warren had been ordered to go northwards to 
protect the colonies and fisheries, and, " as occasion shall offer, attack and distress 
the enemy in their settlements, and annoy their fisheries and commerce." 7 This 
we may take as the substance of the orders which Warren received, for his 
intention, when he left Antigua on March 13, was to act in concert with 
Clinton and Shirley. He took for his flagship the Superbe, which gave great 
offence to Knowles, her former captain, his irascible and influential second, from 
which Warren feared disagreeable consequences. He sailed for Boston with 

1 Feb. 23, 1744/45, Harbour Antigua. 2 Warren, March 10/45, In Letters. 

3 March 8. 4 Out Letters, 486 and 63, f. 55. 

5 Ad. Sec., Out Letters, vol. 486 and 63, also the Newcastle correspondence in the British Museum. 

6 Jan. 4., Ad. Sec., Out Letters, 486. 7 R.I. Doc. vol. 5, p. 132, Shirley, April 3 ; C.O. 5/809. 


her, the Launceston, and Mermaid, on March 13, in company with two small 
armed vessels and ten sail of merchantmen. 1 

If Warren's preliminary views were cautious his actions were eager. Unless 
his instructions were more definite than those of which records are extant, he 
interpreted them in the widest sense, and put into adequate action the opinions 
he had a few days before expressed to his friend. " These are considerations 
worthy of a discreet Officer, who should not, but upon the best grounds, attempt 
to put his Country to Expence, and probably himself to shame. When these 
difficulty's that occur to such an Officer are obviated, by the Sound reasoning 
of others, or by Self conviction, he will then go on with becoming Vigour and 
Gallantry, that cannot fail to have a good effect upon all that serve under his 
command." His fleet fell in, on April 10, with a schooner from Marble- 
head, "who Informed us that a Fleet of 63 Sail had sailed 14 days on Sunday 
last with 5000 Men for Canso under the Command of ' Generall Pepperall.' ' 
Warren took the master on board to act as pilot, as he was unfamiliar with the 
waters, 8 and proceeded direct to Canso. He sent word to Shirley of his course, 
greatly to his relief, 4 for Warren's refusal to join the expedition had been 
communicated by the former only to Pepperrell and one or two important 
people. Shirley had, however, pushed on with his preparations, amid difficulties 
and delays. At last he saw the troops gathered together and embarked on the 
transports, which with the armed vessels lay in Nantasket Road, whence, much 
to the relief of the wearied Governor, the Massachusetts contingent sailed on 
March 24 for Canso, which had been selected as their base. 

Warren also gave instructions to Captain Durell of the Eltham, which had 
wintered in Boston, to act as convoy to mast ships from Piscataqua. On the 
1 6th of April the ships he was to protect had dropped down the river, and the 
next day they all were actually under way when Warren's orders arrived, 5 so " that 
5 minutes delay would have put him out of our reach." Durell's account is, 
" Just as I was ready to sail with the Mast Ships from New England to 
return Home I received orders from Commodore Warren to join him off this 
Harbour (Canso), which commands were so agreeable that I made all despatch 

Newcastle's response to the representations of Shirley, and others which have 
been noted, did not stop with sending Warren for the defence of the Northern 
Colonies. When he was informed of the Louisbourg expedition, he sent out 

1 His letter of March 10. - R.O. Logs, vol. 820. 3 He had been once there in the Squirrel. 

4 Shirley in a speech, April 17, thus acknowledged Warren's action: "The cheerfulness and zeal with which 
Mr. Warren undertakes this Service, It the great Concern he had for the success of it, & the Prosperity of thee 
Province* . . . greatly recommends him to our respect k affections." ^50 worth of live stock were presented to 
Warren by the Assembly of Massachusetts as a token of respect (C.O. 5 809). 

3 M.H.S. vol. 10, p. 129. b A Particular Account. 


with the utmost dispatch no less than eight men-of-war to augment Warren's 
force before Louisbourg and as guardships. 1 

The vigour of Pitt had been so often contrasted with the sloth of Newcastle, 
that it is interesting to note that in this matter Newcastle's Government acted 
with the greatest promptness. Captain Joshua Loring arrived in London with 
four letters of Shirley's 2 on March 16. The Admiralty met at once, ordered the 
Hector and Princess Mary to sea to assist Warren, and sent Loring, who had 
only been in London a few hours, with the express " at half-past midnight " to 
return to Cape Breton on the Princess Mary? 

After a passage, 4 which the General describes as " rough and somewhat 
tedious," the Massachusetts contingent arrived at Canso on the 4th of April, 
where the New Hampshire troops had landed on the ist. The day after 
landing Pepperrell called together his Council of War, which, even without any 
representatives of Connecticut, had seventeen members present. He submitted 
to them the instructions he had received, and the army was divided into four 
sections, to land at a selected point on Gabarus Bay, three miles from the town 
and four from the Grand Battery. Canso was seen to be a suitable place. A 
blockhouse, brought with them ready framed, was erected, armed with eight- 
pounders, and called " Cumberland " in honour of that Royal Duke. It was 
resolved to push on to Gabarus Bay with the first favourable wind and weather, 
although the train of artillery and part of the troops had not arrived. 

A projected attack on St. Peter's, about eighteen miles across the Bay, was 
deferred, but the expedition to cut off the vessels with provisions believed to be 
at Baie Verte was sent out. The ice on the coast fortunately prevented them 
from pushing on to Louisbourg without artillery, and with their provision 
vessels, so uncertain in their arrival, owing to the prevailing winds, that 
Pepperrell writes on the loth "that they soon would be put in greater danger 
of famine than sword." Their two principal cruisers, the Massachusetts and the 
Shirley, had provisions for only ten days, and, by computation, the army only for 
a month. This was a situation serious enough to justify Pepperrell's appeal 
for help to the Chairman of the War Committee. But the activity of their 
cruisers brought some aid : two vessels with rum and molasses, both valuable 
commodities to their army, were captured and brought to Canso. Captain 
Tyng and the other armed vessels had been sent to cruise off Louisbourg. 
There they had a running fight with a French frigate, the Renommee, Captain 
Kersaint, which left France for Cadiz on the yth of February, where she waited 

1 These vessels were the Lark, Hector, Princess Mary, Princess Louisa, Canterbury, Chester, Sundcrland, and Wagtr 
(Ad. Sec., Out Letters, vol. 63). 

2 5-9-i4th Jan., ist Feb. 3 C.O. 5/900 ; Ad. Sec., Out Letters, 50, 63. 

* " Our men was exeding sick and did vomet very much as they would Dy the seas running mountaining," is the 
account of another diarist. 


until the loth of March, and after crossing the Atlantic had this encounter in 
the fog and ice off Louisbourg. She then cruised to the westward. On the 
Cape Sable shore she fell in with the seven transports carrying the Connecticut 
troops under the convoy of the Connecticut sloop and the Tartar belonging to 
Rhode Island. The ever-active Shirley had suggested that the Tartar should 
make the voyage with the Connecticut forces as a safeguard. It was fortunate 
that his proposal was accepted, for Fones, her captain, was a bold and skilful 
sailor. He led Kersaint to chase him away from the little fleet, which reached 
Canso in safety, and having accomplished this, the Tartar escaped from the 
frigate after nightfall. 1 Kersaint then proceeded to the Baie des Castors in 
Acadia, and after remaining there attempted to make Louisbourg, but was 
driven off by contrary winds, and then returned to Brest on June 19* 

The situation was changed on the 22nd by the arrival of the Eltham> 
followed the next day by Warren and his other ships. No time was lost in 
visits or exchange of courtesies between the Commanders. Letters passed 
between them, and Warren sailed at once to blockade Louisbourg. The 
Connecticut contingent reached Canso on the 25th. With the forces thus 
complete, the first part of the movement had been carried through with 
remarkable celerity. They were in possession of their base ; their armed vessels 
were off Louisbourg ; the provincials were on the eve of putting to the test the 
value of their preparations and the steadfastness and skill of the officers and men. 




Sir : The conduct of this colony relating to the Cape Breton expedition having 
been, as your letters advise, very unjustly misrepresented at home, with a view to prejudice 
the ministry against us, the General Assembly have directed that a true account thereof 
should be transmitted to you, which, we doubt not, will enable you fully to vindicate our 
colony, which hath always distinguished itself by joining with readiness and zeal in all 
expeditions ordered by the crown. 

1 R.I. Rcc. vol. 5, p. 138 and 155. 

2 A.M.B. 4 vol. 56, p. 228, and vol. 57, p. 291, contain the precis of this voyage, and that of De Salvert's squadron, 
which returned to Brest on the 12th of October. The latter took some prizes, among them the Prince of Orange, from 
whom they learned of the fall of Louisbourg, and the large fleet on the coast of Isle Royale. De Salvert attempted to meet 
the vessels of the India Company, but in bad weather and fog missed them all. He made for Newfoundland on his return 
to France, in which two of his ships were dismasted. The documents themselves are wanting, so that this is the little 
information which can be given of the French expedition to relieve Louisbourg. From a captured letter we learn that 
Du Vivier had come on De Salvert's squadron, and had been placed by him in command (although he had never been at lea) 
of the frigate Le Parfait. He took The Two Friends, which was again recaptured off Louisbourg (Ad. Sec., In Letters, 
No. 2655). 


The reduction of Louisbourg, we always thought, would be of very great importance, 
as well to the trade and commerce of Great Britain, as of the northern plantations, and 
therefore expected and hoped it would be undertaken at home in the course of the war ; 
but we judged the attempt to reduce that prodigiously strong town, regularly fortified, 
and furnished with a garrison of regular forces, to be much too hazardous, as well as too 
expensive for New England, as not having one officer of experience or even an engineer, 
and the people being entirely ignorant in the art of encamping and besieging towns, and 
were therefore greatly surprised at hearing that the Province of the Massachusetts had 
voted to make said attempt. 

At first, while it was supposed that Governor Shirley had secret instructions to raise 
men, and an assurance of a sufficient addition of sea and land forces from Great Britain, 
our people were zealous in the affair ; but when it was known that he had no orders at 
all, not so much as a discretionary power to stop some of His Majesty's ships then at 
Boston, a thing of the last importance to the blocking up the harbour of Louisbourg, no 
assurance that the ministry would approve of the undertaking, or make any provision to 
support it, or that the state of affairs in Europe would permit the sending such a force 
from Great Britain, as seemed necessary, to render the expedition successful, surely, 'tis no 
wonder that our zeal abated, and that we were not very forward to precipitate an attempt, 
in which a failure must needs have been a fatal consequence, as it would have exposed 
the weakness of the northern plantations, and disabled them from assisting, if the 
crown should think fit to order such an expedition ; that the Massachusetts themselves 
were very doubtful of success, cannot be denied, for the undertaking of the expedition was 
carried but by one single voice, in their house of representatives. 

. . . But notwithstanding all this, the General Assembly voted to send our colony sloop 
well manned, permitted the Governor of Boston to endeavour to raise men in the pay of 
the Province, and voted an additional bounty of forty shillings a man to induce them to 
list, but to no effect. 

On further application to us in March last, the General Assembly voted to raise 
three companies of fifty men each, exclusive of officers ; and offered a large pay, and 
a higher bounty than the Province of Massachusetts had given ; but it being found 
impracticable to fill the companies in season, the then Governor, after we have been at a 
considerable expense, ordered the men that were raised to be disbanded. However, our 
colony's sloop, mounting fourteen carriage and twelve swivel guns, well fitted and manned, 
convoyed the Connecticut forces, and proved of singular service, by preventing their entire 
ruin from a French two-and-thirty gun ship ; and afterwards in the Gut of Canso, by 
repelling, in conjunction with two other cruisers, a large body of French and Indians, who 
were going to the relief of Louisbourg. 

... In May, we had advice that the ministry approved of the expedition, and that 
Commodore Warren was arrived off Louisbourg with a squadron of His Majesty's ships. 
The General Assembly did then renew their vote to raise three companies ; and that it 
might be effectual, increased the bounty, and raised the pay to ^10 per month a man, 
double of what the Massachusetts allowed theirs. But to complete said companies (we) 
were notwithstanding obliged to order that men should be impressed into the service, as 
several actually were ; a thing not done by order of Assembly in any other part of New 
England, and scarce ever practised here before ; and on notice that seamen were wanted to 



man the ship Vigilant^ voted to raise two hundred, allowing a bounty of ^17 to a man. 
But such was the scarcity of men, that though the bounty was so large, and the most 
effectual means used (for we had again recourse to impressing, and allowed said bounty 
even to the impressed men), that we could raise only about seventy. The good news of 
the surrender of Louisbourg had reached Boston before our transports sailed from thence, 
having lain there some days for convoy ; vet they proceeded (on) the voyage, and are now 
in garrison ; and we have lately sent a vessel to Louisbourg, with clothing and provisions 
sufficient for their support till late in the spring. 

This is the assistance we have given, which was really the utmost we were able to 
give, the colony having never exerted itself with more zeal and vigour on any occasion ; 
and it ought to be observed, that no other of the neighbouring governments, besides 
Connecticut and New Hampshire, could be induced, at the first, to give any assistance at 
all ; nor afterwards, of all of them together, to give so much and such effectual assistance, 
as this little colony cheerfully afforded, at the hazard of leaving our sea coast unguarded, 
and our navigation exposed to the enemy's privateers, from the beginning of April to the 
latter end of October, during which time our colony's sloop was in the service. 1 

1 Rhode Island Colonial Records, vol. <;, pp. 14.5-147. 


PEPPERRELL had many causes for anxiety. His stores were inadequate, and 
many of the small arms were in bad order. Rioting had taken place at Canso, 
so he had to find, and did find, that middle way between a severity to which his 
levies would not submit, and a laxity perilous to the success of the expedition. 
The detachment which was sent against St. Peter's had acted without dash, 
" which party returned without success, not having carefully conformed to their 
orders, for landing in whale boats by night, and finding there several vessels, which 
though of no force, yet well manned for trade, and a number of Indians being 
alarmed ; their whole force appeared so considerable, that our party did not 
think it safe to land." l 

These were indications that neither his materials nor his men would stand 
much strain ; and yet his officers had urged him to push on to Louisbourg 
without waiting for the transports laden with his artillery. The ice on the Cape 
Breton coast made impossible this advance. The vessels with this part of his 
armament had arrived before the sea cleared. As soon as navigation to the east- 
ward became practicable, the movement on Louisbourg began. The expedition 
started from Canso early on the morning of the 29th of April. That day, the most 
warm and pleasant since their arrival at Canso, opened with light winds, which, 
after a calm, rose again to a gentle breeze from the north-west. It, being a fair 
wind, enabled the fleet of about one hundred vessels to reach along the coast to 
:heir appointed position in Gabarus Bay. Here, after passing Warren's cruising 
jhips, they arrived in the morning of Tuesday the thirtieth. 2 

Du Chambon had been in doubt as to what was going on, or perhaps was 
in that frame of mind which tries not to see indications of a crisis to which he 
: elt himself unequal. The vessels in the offing, and reports that there was 
unusual activity at Canso, were disquieting. But the former, it was hoped, 

1 Pepperrell to Shirley, Massachusetts Historical Society vol. i, p. 24. 

2 The large map of this siege can be used with great advantage in following its course. Its comparison with 
vritten accounts shows its substantial accuracy. 

It is necessary to collate the letters which passed between the officers and the minutes of the Council of War. The 
atter and some of the letters are in Massachusetts Historical Society, sixth series, vol. 10. Other letters are in vol. i of 
ts first series. These are referred to as vol. i and vol. 10. 



might be the succour from home for which they had asked ; the latter the 
carrying out of English plans for the fortification of Canso, of which they had 
knowledge. He ordered Benoit in command at Port Toulouse (St. Peter's) to 
ascertain what was going on. The latter sent out a civilian, an Indian, and a 
soldier, who captured four of the enemy. These in turn overpowered their 
captors, and brought the Frenchmen in as prisoners, the Indian having escaped. 1 

The miscarriage of this scout left Du Chambon still uncertain. Nor could 
the people of Louisbourg tell the nationalities of the combatants, in seeing from 
the land the running fight between the Renommte and the provincial cruisers. 
There was little room left for doubt when a vessel from St. Jean de Luz arrived 
safely, and reported that on the 25th she had exchanged three broadsides with 
the enemy. Whatever uncertainty still existed in their minds was dispelled by 
the capture of three coasting boats. 2 

Du Chambon, thus driven from the position that there was no cause for 
alarm, in conjunction with Bigot, sent word to France of their condition. 8 The 
Societt slipped successfully through the blockade, and bore to the court their 
evil tidings, which falsified the optimistic previsions of Maurepas. The pre- 
parations for defence which Du Chambon had made in the autumn seem to have 
been held in abeyance by the mutiny of the garrison. Officials, officers, and 
townspeople feared the purpose of the troops was to deliver the place without 
striking a blow, so its condition was one of suspended animation. The conduct 
of the soldiery during the winter had been orderly. When the crisis came it 
was spirited. Du Chambon and Bigot appealed to their patriotism, and promised, 
in the name of the King, a pardon for their past offences. The troops responded 
to their appeal, returned to their duty, and behaved well during the siege. 4 

Although arrangements had been made for calling in the people of the 
outlying settlement of Baleine and Lorambec, who joined the townspeople in a 
militia for its defence, there seems to have been no settled plan of action in event 
of these threatening appearances proving to be the prelude of an attack. 

Du Chambon was Governor by accident. Neither Chateaugue, appointed 
to succeed Du Quesnel, nor De Salvert, his substitute, had been able to reach 
Louisbourg. Du Chambon was inexperienced. Neither he nor any of the 
officers of the troops had even been in action, so that this siege is the culminating 
event of that warfare of amateurs which began at Canso a year earlier. The New 
Englanders at least made plans ; Du Chambon seems to have been incapable of 

1 Mais. Hist. Soc. vol. i, p. 23 ; Que. Hist. Mass. vol. 3, p. 238. 2 One was a large sloop loaded with game. 

3 Bigot does not seem to have been in doubt. 

4 Bigot says none deserted. This is almost literally true, there were only two desertions. The promise of pardon 
was repudiated after the return of the garrison to France. Certain of the soldiers were executed. The alleged ringleader 
had died in prison. Bigot made a statement in favour of the soldiers, which the court-martial did not admit (Colonies, B, 
vol. 82). Bigot, however, wrote to the Minister, Oct. 9, 1745, taking a different view. He said, it is of the utmost 
importance to the colonies that an example be made ("^u'on fassc un cxemple d'une pareille sedition "). 

1745 THE LANDING 149 

foresight. His disastrous lack of judgment was shown in his dealing with the 
force of Marin. This officer had been sent with a strong detachment from 
Quebec for a winter journey to Acadia, there to act against Annapolis or to help 
Louisbourg. It left on January 15. Du Chambon informed Marin in April 
that it was unnecessary for him to come to Louisbourg. He consequently 
attacked Annapolis. It was not until the provincial artillery had begun to fire 
on the town, May 5, that Du Chambon attempted to avail himself of this 
reinforcement. At this late day, Du Chambon sent a messenger on the long 
journey to Annapolis. Marin set out, penetrated to Isle Royale, after an 
encounter with provincial cruisers in the Gut of Canso, and arrived too late to 
of any help. 1 

It was not until the French saw from the ramparts on the morning of the 
}oth a disembarkation begun, its boats moving towards two points, one near, the 
)ther much more to the westward of Flat Point, that the question of resistance 
was raised. Two civilians were the spokesmen of those who desired action. 
One was the retired officer of the Regiment de Richelieu, de la Boularderie, who, 
on hearing of the cruisers off the port, had come in an open boat from his estate 
at Petit Bras d'Or. Morpain, now port captain, but at the beginning of the 
century a privateer of Port Royale, was the other. 

De la Boularderie said that, under cover of the woods, a force could advance 
within half a pistol-shot of the beach ; that half of the garrison should be sent out 
to fall on the enemy, who would be in that confusion which always attends 
landings ; that they would be chilled from exposure, and that they were, moreover, 
but poor creatures (" miserables "). Morpain recounted his exploits in 1707 and 
appealed to Du Chambon to give him leave to go out with those of the towns- 
people who were willing. Du Chambon, who had taken the view that he had no 
men to spare, at last gave way. Fifty civilian volunteers and twenty-four 
soldiers, the latter under Mesillac Du Chambon, the Governor's son, the 
youngest officer of the garrison, set forth from the town with vague instructions 
and under uncertain command. 

When they were about half-way across the marsh, Boularderie thought 
the attempt was hopeless, as fifteen hundred men had landed and were taking 
regular formation. Morpain was for keeping on. Marching in solid formation, 
they came under the fire of the ships, 2 and alarmed the landed troops. The 
French had reached a depression when the enemy closed in on them. Morpain, 
heedless of De la Boularderie's expostulations, withdrew all the men except 
twelve soldiers. These momentarily withstood the provincial attack made in 

1 The first news they received in Quebec of the fall of Louisbourg was from the younger Marin, who was dispatched 
by his father with this disappointing intelligence (MSS. Que. vol. 3, p. 217). 

2 " We were covered in our landing by Fletcher, Bush, and Saunders, who fired their cannon smartly on the enemy " 
(Pepperrell's Journal). 


overwhelming force. De la Boularderie was twice wounded and surrendered, 
five of the soldiers were wounded, but escaped, and seven were killed. Morpain 
was wounded, but watched over by a faithful negro slave, was later brought 
into the town. 1 The losses were trifling : only two or three provincials 
wounded, and on the French side sixteen or seventeen killed and wounded. 
From the English accounts there does not appear to have been the delay of 
which the French speak, nor the number of men landed at the time the 
attempt at a repulse was made. 

The provincial troops, after dispersing this tardy and ill-led expedition, 
were emboldened to advance freely. In a few hours irregular groups of them 
emerged from the woods overlooking the town, in which their exultant cheering 
could be heard. Order was maintained among some others, for regular squads 
advanced through the woods, and came into the open in the neighbourhood 
of the Grand Battery. 

Two thousand were landed before nightfall, and the work of encamping 
was begun. The site of the camp was on either side of a small brook which 
runs into Gabarus Bay, between Flat Point and the boggy plain which 
stretches to the outworks of the fortress. The land is dry, and the wisdom 
of Pepperrell's officers is shown by the fact that Amherst's engineers in 1758 
found no better place for the encampment of a much larger force. 2 

While morning of this day brought to Du Chambon these perplexities, 
the evening brought another, of no less moment. This was the report of 
Chassin de Thierry, Captain in command of the Grand Battery, that, in his 
opinion, the post was not tenable. He proposed to blow it up, as it would 
be of great value to the enemy, and spike the cannon. A council of war was 
held, and the opinion of the engineer, Verrier, confirmed Thierry's statement. 
At its best, the fort was commanded by higher ground ; in its present state, 
difficult to defend, for on the landward side its defences had been levelled 
preparatory to their repair. The council without a dissenting voice voted 
for its abandonment, and, with the exception of Verrier, thought that it should 
be blown up. His protests against the destruction of the work were so vigorous 
that the point was given up, and Thierry was ordered to spike the guns and 
withdraw his men and as many provisions and warlike stores as he could bring 
away. This he did with such haste that the guns were not properly spiked, 
and the garrison was back in the town about midnight. A detachment had 
to be sent to complete the evacuation. Other detachments, on the ist and 2nd 

1 Morpain set free the man as a reward. Boularderie was taken to Boston, made a good impression on its authorities 
and people, took charge of the other prisoners, and left for France with a certificate that he had behaved like a gentle- 
man, and was of great service to the pmoncrs. This was signed and sealed on September 2 by various distinguished 
gentlemen, among whom were members of Council and B. Pemberton, its Secretary (C 11 , Canada, vol. 87). 

2 The earthworks which enclosed the latter camp are still quite visible. 


of May, sunk at their moorings the vessels near the town, those at the head 
of the harbour, and brought away from the lighthouse its supply of oil. A 
third force, a mixed detachment of French and Swiss, protected those who 
demolished the houses between the Dauphin Gate and the Barachois, and 
while at this work beat off an attack. 

The disembarkation was completed on the ist, but for a fortnight the 
troops, landing stores and artillery on an exposed shore in cold and foggy 
weather, and in bringing the artillery over rocks, through woods and bogs, 
suffered the severest hardships. They worked so effectively that, on the 
fifth day after the descent, a battery was in position opposite the citadel at 
a distance of 1550 yards, and then opened fire on the town. 

On the night of the ist a strong detachment marched through the 
woods and destroyed the houses at the head of the harbour. The next 
morning, William Vaughan, returning from this expedition, reconnoitred the 
silent Grand Battery, and, preceded by an Indian, entered its court and found 
it deserted, a condition which scarcely justifies the opening of his letter to 
Pepperrell : 

"May it pleasure your Honour, to be informed yt with y e grace of God and y e 
courage of about thirteen men I entred this place about nine a clock and am waiting 
here for a reinforcemen 1 and flag." l 

Another account speaks of this event from a different standpoint, and 
incidentally illustrates the conditions of the troops in these early days. 

" This Morning we had an alarm in the Camp suposing there was a Salley from the 
town against us We Ran to meet them but found ourselves Mistaken : I had a Great 
Mind to se the Grand Battery So with five other of our Company I went towards it 
and as I was a Going about Thirty more fell in with us ; we Came in y e Back of a hil 
within Long Muskitt Shot and fired att y e s d fort & finding no Resistance I was Minded 
to Go & Did with about a Duzen men setting a Card to y e Norward Should We Be 
asolted who Espied two french men whom we Imeadately Took Priseners with two 
women & a Child then we went in after some others to ye s d Grand fort & found itt 
Desarted." 2 

Before Vaughan was reinforced, he beat off four boat-loads of men, covered 
by the fire of the town and island batteries. Colonel Bradstreet was sent with 
a reinforcement, and began at once getting the guns into order, in which he 
was so successful that the next day, the 3rd of May, at noon, one gun had 
fired on the town, and a second was in service at seven the same evening. 
This, Colonel Waldo, who had taken over the command, reports with satisfac- 

1 Vol. 10, p. 138. 
2 Gidding's Journal, Essex Inst. vol. 48. The " some others " I take to be the men under Vaughan. 


tion, and enlivens his letter to the General by a jest in the manner of the 
times over the poor quality of the bombs fired at them by the French. 

His regiment continued to garrison this fort, and the artillery officers 
soon had enough cannon drilled and in service against the town to amply 
justify, by the effects of their fire, the view of the importance of this position 
held by the planners of the expedition. Waldo made daily reports to Pepperrell 
while he was at the Grand Battery, in which the most striking feature was 
the constant clamour for rum. Day after day it was asked for, and it was 
not quantity alone, for in one letter they beg for French rather than the 
home-made drink. The quantity required apparently seemed excessive to the 
Commissariat, for Waldo writes : 

"The short supply of rum, the severall Captains tell me, is of prejudice to the people. 
Should one from the dead tell the soldiery anything, in the prejudice of it, 'twould have 
no weight." l 

In warlike stores the supply was short. Waldo was constantly on the 
point of being left without powder, and feared at one time that their battery 
would have to be silent, which he felt sure would lead to a revival of the 
drooping spirits of the besieged, and possibly to an attempt to retake it. 2 He 
reported that its cannon were twenty-eight of 42 pounds and two of 18 pounds, 
" as good pieces as we could desire. I fear the only badd quality in them will 
be in the opinion of our principalls that they devour too much powder." He 
wrote to Pepperrell that his men were poor, and " we are in great want of 
good gunners that have a disposition to be sober in the daytime " ; and again, 
that he would answer for the flag provided he had men and good officers. 
" Three fourths of the men which you apprehend . . . are here are partly 
employed in speculation on the neighbouring hills and partly employed in 
ravaging the country." 

While the excessively arduous work of establishing batteries and serving 
them was going on, it is evident from the journals of individuals, that the troops 
were not all engaged in this legitimate work, but parties of them went out on 
expeditions, the purpose of which was plunder and destruction of property, as 
well as taking prisoners. It is quite evident from the numbers taken, either that, 
owing to the short notice given by signals, all the inhabitants of the outports 
did not come in, or that people of the town passed to and from their properties 
on the shores of the harbour. The scanty records show that both the dwellers 
in the environs, and those who left the town, fell into the hands of these roving 
bands, who apparently had at best no other commission than the permission of 

1 Vol. 10, p. 158. 

8 One diarist notes that a sermon was preached on the morning of the 5th in the chapel of the Grand Battery from 
the text : "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise." 


their regimental officers. The records of one diarist 1 begin on the day of 
landing with the capture of five cows, from which, as only three of them were 
killed, follows in natural sequence, that he breakfasted the next morning on 
milk. Horses and cattle were both taken and killed ; houses were plundered. 
Forty - eight hours later he says again, that " our men keep continually 
plundering," and on the first Sunday they were on shore, May 5, he records 
that one of the General's men killed himself with drink in a house he was 
looting. The same day two unhappy Frenchmen, clearly non-combatants, for 
they were carrying their goods from the city to a hiding-place in the woods, 
were killed by a party numbering a score. Their boat-loads of property and 
two bags of gold became a richer booty to a more unscrupulous squad 
than was usual. Another writer, in recounting the events of May 2, says, " and 
after that (we) took the grand Batry and several cows and horses and sum plunder 
viz. sum pots sum kitles sum grid irons sum one thing and sum another." 2 The 
value of the spoils impressed the enemy. Gibson later describes handsome farms 
on the Mire. It is said that in one house, burned at St. Peter's, there were 
1000 bushels of wheat, 3 and more than once the good looks of the women 
captured are mentioned, " 4 of which is hansom ladeys," 4 but it was not 
always so easy as in these instances. 
Friday 10, Gibson's Journal : 

" A small scout of twenty-five men got to the north-east harbour. I and four more 
being in a house upon plunder, 140 French and Indians came down upon us first, and fired 
a volley, with a great noise. Two jumped out of the window and were shot dead. With 
great difficulty the other two and myself got safe to the grand battery. They afterwards 
killed nineteen of the remaining twenty." 5 

The authorities were seriously concerned about this plundering. Waldo 
wrote to Pepperrell soon after he went to the Grand Battery : 

"I fear yr Honr will be under necessity of appointing a moroding officer with ye 
powers, & without it, should an obstinate siege be our portion, a train of ill consequence 
must ensue which I doubt not you'll be pleased to consider of." 

Pepperrell was evidently determined to arrange some means of dealing with 
the matter, for he wrote to Warren the same day : 

" The unaccountable irregular behaviour of these fellows (the masters of transports) ot 
some moroders is the greatest fatigue I meet with ; hope to reduce them to a better 
discipline soon." 

War is a cruel thing even with a disciplined army ; with irregular troops it 

1 Bradstreet. 2 Giddings, p. 6. 3 From French sources there is no evidence of such abundance. 

4 Vol. 10, p. 155. 

5 The next day forty prisoners were taken by the force which set out to bury the dead. It made a clean sweep of 
the place, chapel, fish stages, and a hundred fishing-boats. 


is a scourge to the people of the invaded territory. Neither Pepperrell's corre- 
spondence, nor the journal of the Council of War, shows what measures were 
taken, but the later entries of the diarists narrate no such barbarities on the part 
of the provincials as the records of the earliest days. 1 

Having abandoned a surprise on the town, in the securing of the Grand 
Battery, and the encampment of the army, Pepperrell had carried out in the 
main the instructions of Shirley. He was left, supported by his Council, to 
devise further action ; except in one respect, the destruction of all French 
property. This work was steadily prosecuted, until in three or four weeks, 
either by land expeditions or the forces of Warren, no hamlet or settlement on 
the island was left unravaged. 

The question of sending a summons to Du Chambon was the first considered 
by the Council on the 3rd. The matter was under consideration intermittently 
until the yth, when it was decided on. Some of the seniors, among them 
Waldo, held that Du Chambon would be justified in hanging the bearer of their 
message, " unless we had made a more formidable genl. appearance than we 
have yet been able to make." 

The Council took up the erection of batteries. Beginning at the Green 
Hill, these were pushed forward with a celerity which was possible only among a 
force made up of men, some with the dexterity of seafarers, others with that of 
woodsmen accustomed to handle mast timber from the stump in the forests of 
New Hampshire to its berth in the vessel. By the 2Oth, a fifth battery, 
sweeping across the little Barachois, completed the attack against the fortifica- 
tions towards their northern end, where the ground was most suitable for these 
operations and an assault. (The boggy grounds south of the citadel protected 
the place from attack on that side.) Other projects against the town were con- 
sidered and attempted. Warren proposed an operation against the Island 
Battery, which guarded the mouth of the harbour. It was tried unsuccessfully, 
as the boats withdrew on account of the surf. It was determined in the Council 
on the 9th to storm the town that night. When news of the decision spread 
through the camp, so much dissatisfaction was expressed that a hastily 
summoned meeting of Council was held in the afternoon, and abandoned the 
project. There were seventeen members present in the morning and six in 
the afternoon. The latter passed the following : 

"Advised, that in as much as there appears a great dissatisfaction in many of the 
officers & soldiers at the design'd attack of the town by storm this night, and as it may 

1 The only officer whose diary shows any sympathy with plundering was Gibson, who was not a Ne\v Englander, 
but had held his Majesty's commission in the Foot Guards at Barbadoes (Gibson's Journal, p. 21). Pepperrell and hit 
second. Waldo, were strongly opposed to it. 

8 Vol. to, p. 141. Thi, written by Waldo on the 3rd, confirms the impression given by other records that the 
disorder was great. 


be attended with very ill consequence if it should not be executed with the utmost vigour 
whenever attempted, the said attack of the town be deferr'd for the present. 1 

Warren was present at both meetings. 

The outlook was not as brilliant as the leaders had hoped. Du Chambon 
had returned a spirited answer to the summons to surrender. The guns of 
their siege batteries were burst by overloading, 2 and, firing at long range, did 
little damage to the French defences ; and it was found impossible to arrange 
an attack on the Island Battery. Discouragement dictated the decision of the 
Council of War which met on the nth ; for this was virtually to abandon the 
offensive, and to attempt no more than to hold the harbour until reinforcements 
were sent to them. The Council decided at its meeting as follows : 

" Advized, that the battery begun at the west part of the Town be compleated with 
all possible expedition, and the eight 22lb cannon be mounted there. 

" Advized, that two regiments be posted on the west part of the town to guard the 
batteries there, and to intercept succours that may attempt to get into the town that way. 

"That one regimt be posted at the Grand Battery. 

" That a battery be thrown up, and the New York train of artillery and some cannon 
from the Grand Battery be mounted between the light-house and careening place, and that 
the remaindr of the army with the stores encamp in some proper place abt the North East 
Harbour, & intrench there and place the field pieces round the camp, that so they may 
be able to keep possession of the harbour till measures can be taken for the effectual re- 
duction of the town. 

"That some guard-boats be prepared & kept in readiness in the North East Harbour 
to intercept small vessells from getting to the town with succors." 3 

It was also decided that Shirley send down a reinforcement of one 
thousand men. The battery was begun, no steps were taken to remove the 
troops, and by the i8th the action was reconsidered in Council and the project 
abandoned. Vaughan wrote, on the nth, that he could take the Island Battery 
if given control of an expedition against it. He busied himself with preparations, 
but was obliged to write Pepperrell that the indiscipline of the men made the 
expedition impossible. A bungling attempt to burn a vessel from France, which 
had passed through the cruisers unhurt by their fire and that of the Grand 
Battery, and had been anchored or was beached close under the walls of the 
town, was also made and failed. 

Warren was getting uneasy. He pointed out to Pepperrell that the 
St. Lawrence was open, and that reinforcements might be sent down from 
Quebec as well as from France. Pepperrell's letters to Shirley became apologetic 
in their tone, for he and his officers were receiving letters which showed that at 
home hopes were held that they were in Louisbourg when they had not landed. 4 

1 Vol. 10, p. 17. 2 Many accidents of this kind took place to their own guns and men. 

3 Vol. 10, p. 1 8. 4 Parkman, also vol. 10. 


Warren proposed an attack on the town, by the combined land and sea forces, 
for which he secured the approval, not only of his own captains, but of Rous 
and Fones, of the colonial cruisers. The Council determined that the circum- 
stances of the army did not justify its immediate undertaking. Warren was 
unquestionably disappointed, and some irritation appears in his letters to 
Pepperrell. Before this had risen to any plain expression one event occurred 
which materially affected the course of the siege. This was the capture of the 
one ship sent out from France which could have helped Du Chambon in his 
defence. The Vigilant was a new ship mounting sixty-four guns. It was said 
that she was so heavily laden that her lowest tier of guns was not available in 
battle. Her command was given to Maisonfort, who was given instructions 
to succour Louisbourg without uselessly exposing his vessel. 1 

The Vigilant, on her voyage from Brest, captured two British vessels, on 
which she put prize crews to bring them in to Louisbourg. On the 2Oth of 
May she was off the coast of Isle Royale, proceeding with a fair north-east wind 
for her destination. She fell in with and chased the Mermaid^ of forty guns, 
Captain Douglass. The latter, replying with his stern guns to the fire of the 
Frenchman, was pursued towards the northwards where Warren's ships lay. 
Douglass signalled to them the presence of the enemy. When Maisonfort 2 (at 
2 P.M.) discovered the British ships, conditions were reversed. He turned 
south-westwards to sea, and was chased by the Mermaid. He crowded on all 
sail. The British ship was joined at six by Rous, in command of the Shirley, 
who " Ply'd his Bow Chase very well." At eight the Eltham and Superbe came 
up, and after an hour's action Maisonfort struck. In the darkness of night-time 
and fog they all but lost the prize. Maisonfort had made a gallant fight, and 
did not surrender until his ship was unworkable, and was so much shattered 
that she had to be towed into Gabarus Bay the next day, so that he had no 
chance of escaping. Sixty of her crew of 500 were killed or wounded. 
Douglass was put in command of her, and with difficulty a crew was obtained 
from the transports and army. 8 The Superbe s master's log, No. 722, has a 
slightly different account, agreeing that the Vigilant fought until completely 
disabled. " She could make no sort of sail." The logs all show that she 
inflicted considerable damage on the three ships which overpowered her. 

Had the Vigilant successfully entered the harbour the effect on the siege 
must have been great. 4 Its crew would have about doubled the number of the 
defenders of the town. The stores she carried would have most opportunely 

1 I.R. B, vol. 82, f. 59 and 70. 2 Sec Biographical Appendix. 

3 This in brief is the account of the Mermaid' s log (R.O. Captains' Logs, 820). 

If she had got in, I believe she would have put them in such a condition as to prevent any Fleet in the World's 
coming in the Town " (Capt. Ph. Durell of the Superb<}. " If the Ship had got into the Harbour we should never hive 
taken the place" ("an officer of Marines" in Durell, Captain M'Donald (?). 



supplemented those of the defence, which were so low that the powder was 
sparingly used. The rashness of De la Maisonfort would have animated the 
defence with the spirit it needed. The courage and tenacity with which he and 
his crew fought on the Vigilant until she was completely disabled, we must 
believe, would have proved too much for the few and unskilled gunners of the 
Grand Battery. Had they silenced these guns, then, from some such position as 
the Arethuse occupied in 1758, the siege batteries would have been laid open to 
the devastating broadsides of the Vigilant}- The fortunes of France suffered 
grievously from the rashness of her commander. 

Powder from her stores was found very useful by the provincials in adding 
to their stores, which, like those of the French, had run low. But the fire of 
their batteries was not very effective. With regard to other operations, the 
officers had not enough control over their men to order them to the attack on 
the Island Battery, and to have that order obeyed. The organization of this 
expedition was being attempted continuously from the time that it was first 
spoken of, but night after night it was put off. The first of the attempts 
which were serious was made on the 2ist. Warren had two hundred men 
ready to assist, but the disorderly mob which appeared at the Grand Battery was 
in no condition to make an attack. 

" The night, owing to the moon and the northern lights, was not so agreeable as may 
happen the ensuing one, and the appearance of small detachments of men without officers 
was much less pleasing, many of which only under the conduct (not influence) of a sarjeant 
& many others only centinells without any officer of any kind, & not a few of them noisy 
& in liquor." 2 

Waldo wrote that only fourteen of his men would go ; although he 
claimed that the spirit of his regiment was better than others. The men 
believed the French had wind of their design. D'Aillebout, in command of the 
island, was erecting a fascine battery to protect its landing-place. The council 
had an examination of witnesses the next day. Their decision was that 
Colonels Noble and Gorham, who were in command, were not chargeable with 
misbehaviour in the affair. The council also " advised, that if a number of men 
to the amount of three or four hundred appear as volunteers for the attack of 
the Island Battery, they be allowed to choose their own officer and be entitled to 
the plunder found there." 3 This offer produced some effect. 

1 See map. 8 Vol. 10, Waldo to Pepperrell, p. 213. 

3 Vol. 10, p. 21. Had plunder been much of an inducement, the adventurers would have been sorely dis- 
appointed had the island been taken. Young d'Estimauville was burned out when in command of the detachment at 
Fort Guillaume, at Table Head, in September 1752. His claim for reimbursement of his losses represents that he 
had the following property: 10 shirts, 10 handkerchiefs, n stockings, 2 vests, 2 shoes, 8 towels and bedding; also an 
overcoat, a silver couvert, and a goblet, a hunting knife, etc., a canteen of 5 bottles, demijohn of wine, 8 glasses, 2 flasks, 
etc. He was probably better supplied than any officer in 1745, and the four or five on the Island Battery and their 
eighty men would have given little to divide. 


The officers chosen found over four hundred adventurers assembled at the 
Grand Battery on the night of the 2bth. As they embarked they gave the 
impression to Waldo that the greater part of them never intended to land in 
the attack. The surf was as heavy as any Warren had known on the coast. 

" I am very sorry for the miscarriage and loss of men in the attempt on the Island Battery. 
There was as great a surff the night it was undertaken as I have known here, and I desired 
Captain Durell to acquaint you, if you wou'd lend us your whale boats we wou'd attempt it 
from the ships the first favourable opportunity, tho' I must own I think wee ought not to 
unmann them upon any account, as the sea force of the enemy may be daily expected, whom 
we ought to be in a condition to receive." l 

The foremost boats reached the island and landed their men. The garrison 
was ready for them and a conflict began. The garrison was small. One account 
says 60 to 80 soldiers. There were also about 140 militiamen. After three hours 
of fighting, which ended at four in the morning, the victory was with the French. 
The loss was i 89 men, 2 and it paralyzed for the moment the besieging forces. The 
next day the batteries were silent for some time ; that of the Grand because it 
had no powder, nor men to work it ; the others presumably on account of the 
confusion. Waldo sent one of his vigorous letters to Pepperrell : 

"The silence of all our batterys after the misfortune of last night is very prejudicial to 
our interests. I humbly apprehend we ought rather to have doubled our zeal ye way." 
" From all accounts from shore we learn the men are prodigiously discouraged." 3 

Warren's impatience increased. On the 24th he again sent a plan approved 
by his captains. It proposed that 1000 men from the army should embark on 
the vessels, that 600 men more should be found from the land forces to man the 
Vigilant, that the harbour should be forced, the transports to be under cover of 
the men-of-war, and that a vigorous attack in boats should be made from the 
ships, and that Captain M'Donald should land the marines and lead the 
land attack. 4 

The council on the 25th "maturely weighed" this plan, pointed out that 
the reduction of the Island Battery, and of that circular battery with which 
Du Chambon 5 had replaced and reinforced the guns at the Dauphin Gate, would 
be of great service to the attack on the town, and that they would endeavour it, 

1 Vol. 10, p. 253. 2 Pepperrcll to Warren, May 28, vol. i, p. 33. 

3 Diary of Rev. Joseph Emerson, Chaplain of the Molincux frigate j published by Sam. A. Green. 

* The marines on the men-of-war were about 300 in number. Capt. James M'Donald came to Shirley highly 
recommended, and received from him a Colonel's commission to command the marines under Pepperrell, if they served on 
shore (Shirley to Pepperrell, May 10). Pepperrell thought he was boastful and a martinet. u I am well assurd. he never 
wa, put it all together, one hour in any of ye trenches, Sc he might be on shore before we came in ye citty three days at a 
time in ye camp, & then to be sure we were glad to get rid of him, for ye most he did was to find fault that our encamp- 
ment was not regulr., or yt the soldrs. did not march as hansome as old regulr. troops, their toes were not turned enough out, 
&c." (Pcppcrrcll to Shirley, vol. 10, p. 330). * Lartigue, a civilian, was very active in this work. 


while the Vigilant was refitting. They then summarized the difficulties of the 
situation : 

" That as the difficulties of communication between the army and shipping are often so 
great that boats cannot put off nor reland for several days together ; there being a consider- 
able degree of sickness in the army ; there being reason to apprehend that a number of French 
Indians may be dayly expected on the back of our camp ; also that our men being unused 
to the sea would be soon unfitted for service by being on shipboard j it is by no means 
advizeable to send off any number of the land forces to go into the harbour in the ships, 
lest if by any accident the ships should not go in at the time proposed, the land men might 
not be able immediately to repair on shoar, which might be attended with the worst 
consequences to the army. 

" That a general attack be made on the town by the army and naval force as soon, and 
in such manner, as shall be determined upon by their united Councils [and submitted an 
alternative plan] : 

" Vizt. That five hundred men be taken out of the cruizers and transports, and distri- 
buted in the ships of war, in order to facilitate the manning the Vigilant. 

"That the ships and other vessels proceed into the harbour at the time agreed upon in 
such manner as Com re Warren shall direct. 

"That five hundred land men and what men can be spared from the cruizers be in 
readiness at the Grand Battery to put off in boats upon a signal, and to land and scalade 
the wall on the front of the town, under the fire of the ships' cannon. The marines and 
what seamen Com re Warren thinks proper to attack at the same time and place. 

" That five hundred men, or more if to be had, scalade the wall at the southeast part of 
the town at the same time. 

" That five hundred men make an attack at the breach at the West Gate, and endeavour 
to possess themselves of the Circular Battery. 

" That five hundred men be posted at a suitable place to sustain the party attacking at 
the West Gate." 1 

Warren's impatience showed in his letters. He transmitted his plan of the 
24th in a letter beginning with these words : 

" I am sorry to give you the trouble of so many plans of operation against the garrison 
of Louisbourg, and beg leave to assure you, most candidly, that they all have been such as 
appeared best to my weak judgment, under the several circumstances that you were in, at 
the different times of my proposing them." 2 

Pepperrell replied in a calm tone on the same day in transmitting the report 
of the council, which drew from Warren a brusque answer, the basis of which is 
in two of its passages. " For God's sake, let us do something, and not waste 
our time in indolence," showed Warren's frame of mine. The reasons for this 
impetuous appeal Warren stated as follows : 

" I sincerely wish you all the honour and success imaginable, and only beg to know, in 
what manner I can be more serviceable, than in cruizing, to prevent the introduction of 

1 Vol. 10, p. 23. 8 Vol. i, p. 32. 


succours to the garrison. I fear that if that be all that is expected from the ships, or that 
they can do, Louisbourg will be safe for some time j for my part I have proposed all that I 
think can be done already, and only wait your answer thereto." 1 

Pepperrell replied on the 28th with a statement of what the army had done 
and its condition. 

"In answer to yours of 26th inst. I beg leave to represent to you that this is now the 
29th day since the army first invested the town of Louisbourg, and drove the inhabitants 
within their walls. That in this time we have erected five fascine batteries, and with hard 
service to the men, drawn our cannon, mortars, ball, etc. ; that with 16 pieces of cannon, and 
our mortars mounted at said batteries, and with our cannon from the royal battery, we have 
been playing on the town, by which we have greatly distrest the inhabitants, made some 
breaches in the wall, especially at the west gate, which we have beat down, and made a 
considerable breach there, and doubt not but shall soon reduce the circular battery. That 
in this time we have made five unsuccessful attempts upon the island battery, in the last of 
which we lost about 189 men, and many of our boats were shot to pieces, and many of our 
men drowned before they could land ; that we have also kept out scouts to destroy any 
settlements of the enemy near us, and prevent a surprise in our camp . . . that by the 
services aforesaid and the constant guards kept night and day round the camp, at our 
batteries, the army is very much fatigued, and sickness prevails among us, to that degree 
that we now have but about 2100 effective men, six hundred of which are gone in 
the quest of two bodies of French and Indians we are informed are gathering, one to the 
eastward, and the other to the westward." ! 

He promised that he and some of his council will wait on Warren as soon 
as possible, but told him that an attempt on the Island Battery by boats was 
impracticable ; a tribute to the vigour of D'Aillebout's defence on the 26th. 

Warren writes again on the 29th after being 

"three days in a fog that I could not see the length of my ship, nor one of my squadron j 
when that is the case I look on myself to be as far from you as if I were in Boston." He 
quotes Shirley's letter in which the Governor refers to Warren's command. This Warren 
says he mentions "but to show that my opinion, which I shall ever give candidly to the 
best of my judgment, might have, in conjunction with the captains under my command, 
some weight and force with you." 

A most important step was now taken, one which might have been earlier 
begun, had the technical skill at Pepperrell's disposal been more adequate. 3 
The nearest point to the Island Battery was the land across the mouth of the 
harbour on which the lighthouse was placed. A distance of about one 
thousand yards separated these points. It was not, however, until towards the 
end of May that it occurred to the besiegers to attack the Island Battery from 

1 Vol. i, pp. 34-35, May 26. 2 Pepperrell to Warren, vol. I, p. 35. 

3 "We being poorly provided with persons experienced in engineering" (Pepperrell to Bastide, June 2, vol. 10, p. 239). 
Bastide arrived at Louisbourg about June 5. The lighthouse battery was then under construction. 


this point. The first mention of the project in letters to Pepperrell is in that 
of Waldo, who wrote on the 26th : 

" I have been over to the Lighthouse side, where have found a very convenient place 
for electing a fine battery to the seaward . . . and a flank or bastion to ye said battery 
that will mount four or five guns that will range the Island Battery ... I have determined 
as Col. Gorham's have leisure enough that they this evening and the ensuing night thr6 
up another . . . which will greatly annoy the Island Battery, being the best-situated in 
my poor apprehension for the purpose." l 

Guns and materials were conveyed by sea to the position, and the work 
carried on. No movement made by the besiegers was more effective. Warren's 
ships were held outside the harbour by the Island Battery. The injuries to 
the walls of the town were being repaired as the damage was done, or when 
the permanent works were destroyed, they were,, as at the Dauphin Gate, 
replaced by newly erected defences of earthwork and fascines. The French 
thus deferred the possibilities of a successful land attack. They guarded, in 
the event of the harbour being forced, against boats landing from the ships 
or from the Grand Battery on the beaches and quays, by stretching a chain 
between the Dauphin Works and the Batterie de la Grave. Du Chambon and 
his men, with dogged tenacity rather than Gallic dash, were doing all they 
could to hold the place. Eager as Warren was, his captains had on June 7 
declared that it was inadvisable to attempt to force the harbour without 
silencing the Island Battery, nor would the pilots then with them bring the 
ships close enough to bring their guns to bear effectively on it. 2 Warren's 
captains added that if they could get pilots who would anchor the ships half 
a cable length from the battery, and they had five hundred men from the army 
with officers, who would land where Warren directed, they would attempt 
its reduction. Such pilots did not exist, and Pepperrell replied : 

" I cannot think it advisable to attempt it again in whale boats which a few musket 
balls will sink." 3 

The progress of the siege was almost blocked when the Lighthouse 
Battery began its work. 

Shirley's account of the later days of the siege clearly and briefly sets forth 
the conditions and course of events. 

"And by the I4th, four more Guns were placed on the nth, fuftained by 320 Men. 
Powder growing short, the Fire had for fome days been very much flacken'd, and the 
French began to creep a little out of the Cafmates and Covers, where they had hid 

1 Vol. 10, p. 224. As Waldo gave orders to proceed with the work, it is likely that the project had been discussed 
before. There is no entry in the minutes of the Council of War about this battery until June 9, then only about 
transferring to it one of their largest mortars. 

2 June 7, vol. i, p. 41. 3 Pepperrell to Warren, June 8. 



themfclves, during the greateft Fiercenefs of it ; but this being the Anniverfary of his 
Majefty's happy Acccflion to the Throne, it was determined to celebrate it as became 
loyal Subjects and good Soldiers ; and Orders were given for a general Difcharge of all the 
Cannon from every Battery, at Twelve O'Clock, which was accordingly done, and follow'd 
by an inceflant Fire all the reft of the Day : which much difheartened the Enemy, 
efpecially as they muft be fenfible what muft be the Confequence of this new Battery. 
It was now determined, as foon as poflible, after the Arrival of the Canterbury and 
Sunderland, to make a general Attack by the Sea and Land : Accordingly they arriving 
the next Day, all the Tranfports were order'd off to take out the fpare Mafts and Yards, 
and other Lumber of the Men of War. The Soldiers were employ'd in gathering Mofs 
to barricade their Nettings, and 600 men were fent on board the King's Ships at the 
Commodore's Requeft. The large Mortar was order'd to the Light-houfe Battery ; and 
a new Supply of Powder arriving, the Fire was more fierce from this Time to 

"The 1 5th, than ever. When the Mortar began to play from the Light-houfe 
Battery upon Ifland Battery ; out of 19 Shells, 17 fell within the Fort, and one of them 
upon the Magazine, which, together with the Fire from the Cannon, to which the 
Enemy was very much expofed, they having but little to fhelter them from the Shot 
that ranged quite through their Barracks, fo terrified them, that many of them left the 
Fort, and run into the Water for Refuge. 

"The Grand Battery being in our Pofleflion ; the Ifland Battery being fo much 
annoy'd by the Light-houfe Battery ; the North-Eaft Battery fo open to our Advance 
Battery, that it was not poflible for the Enemy to ftand to their Guns ; all the Guns in 
the Circular Battery except three being difmounted, and the Wall almoft wholly broke 
down ; the Weft Gate demolifhed, and a large Breach in the Wall adjoining ; The Weft 
Flank in the King's Baftion almost ruined ; all the Houfes and other Buildings almoft 
torn to Pieces, but one Houfe in the town being left unhurt, and the Enemy's Stock of 
Ammunition growing fhort, they fent out a Flag of Truce to the Camp, defiring Time 
to confider upon the Articles of Capitulation. This was granted till the next Morning 
when they brought out Articles, which were refufed, and others fent in by the General 
and Commodore, and agreed to by the Enemy : Hoftages were exchanged and 

"On the 1 7th of June, the City and Fortrefles were furrendered, and the Garrifon 
and all the Inhabitants, to the Number of 2000, capable of bearing Arms, made Prifoners, 
to be tranfported to France with all their perfonal Effects. During the whole Siege, we 
had not more than 101 Men killed by the Enemy and all other Accidents, and about 30 
died of Sicknefs. And according to the beft Accounts, there were killed of the Enemy 
within the Walls about 300, befides Numbers that died by being confined within the 
Cafemates." ! 

This was brought about by the hopelessness of the situation, well described 
by Shirley. The principal inhabitants of the city begged Du Chambon to 
capitulate. VervUle, the engineer, at his request, made a report on the battered 
state of the fortifications ; Ste. Marie, another on their exhausted munitions 
of war. A council of war met, and unanimously decided the proper course 
was to offer to capitulate. 2 

1 Shirley, p. 30. - The originals of these documents or at least contemporary facsimiles are in M. St. Mery, vol. 50. 

i 7 45 THE TERMS 163 

Du Chambon sent an officer, young Eurry de la Perelle, who had recovered 
from his wound received in the defence of the Island Battery, with a letter 
asking for a suspension of hostilities to arrange terms for a capitulation. It 
was high time. We know the condition of the town. There were but forty- 
seven barrels of powder in its stores. The men-of-war cleared for action, their 
crews supplemented by 600 provincials lay ready in Gabarus Bay, over against 
the camp, to force the harbour. The land forces were prepared with scaling 
ladders and fascines to storm the breaches in the walls. Warren had landed, 
and the regiment drawn up on parade listened to his inspiring words. The 
suspension was granted until nine the next morning. Negotiations were 
carried on during the i6th, Sunday, and resulted in the following letter from 
Warren and Pepperrell, which was modified by later arrangements : l 

11 We have before us yours of this date, together with the several articles of capitulation 
on which you have proposed to surrender the town and fortifications of Louisbourg with 
the territories adjacent, under your government, to his Britannic Majesty's forces, now 
besieging said place, under our command, which articles we can by no means conceed to. 
But, as we are desirous to treat you in a generous manner we do again make you an offer 
of terms of surrender proposed by us in our summons sent you the jth may last ; and 
to further consent to allow and promise you the following articles," viz. : 

First. "That if your own vessels shall be found insufficient for the transportation 
of your persons and proposed effects to France, we will provide such a further number 
of vessels as may be sufficient for that purpose, also any provisions necessary for the 
voyage which you cannot furnish yourselves with." 

Secondly. "That all the commission officers belonging to the garrison, and the 
inhabitants of the town may remain in their houses with their families and enjoy the 
free exercise of their religion, and no person shall be suffered to misuse and molest any 
of them till such time as they can be conveniently transported to France." 

Thirdly. " That the non-commission officers and soldiers shall immediately upon the 
surrender of the town and fortresses, be put on board of his Britannic Majesty's ship till 
they also be transported to France." 

Fourthly. " That all your sick and wounded shall be taken tender care of in the same 
manner as our own." 

Fifthly. " That the commander in chief now in Garrison shall have liberty to send off 
covered waggons to be inspected only by one officer of ours, that no warlike stores may 
be contained therein." 

Sixthly. " That if there are any persons in the town or garrison which shall desire 
may not be seen by us, they shall be permitted to go off masked." 

" The above we do consent to, and promise upon your complyance with the following 
conditions : " 

First. " That the said surrender and due performance of every part of the aforesaid 
premises, be made and completed as soon as possible." 

Secondly. " That as a security for the punctual performance of the same, the Island 

1 See end of chapter. 


Battery or one of the batteries of the town shall be delivered together with the warlike 
stores, thereunto belonging unto the possession of his Brit. Majesty's troops, before six 
of the clock this afternoon." 

Thirdly. "That his said Brit. Majesty's ship of war now lying before the port, shall 
be permitted to enter the Harbour of Louisbourg without any molestation as soon after 
six of the clock this afternoon as the commander in chief of said ships shall think fit." 

Fourthly. " That none of the officers, soldiers, non-inhabitants in Louisbourg who are 
subjects of the French King shall take up arms against his Brit. Majesty, nor any of his 
allies until after the expiration of the full term of twelve months from this time." 

Fifthly. "That all subjects of his Brit. Majesty who are now prisoners with you 
shall be immediately delivered up to us." 

"In case of your non-compliance with these conditions we decline any further treaty 
with you on this affair, and shall decide the matter by our arms, and are, Sir, Your 
humble servants, P. WARREN, 


The point on which Du Chambon held out to the last was the granting the 
honours of war, that is marching out with their arms and colours flying. An 
interchange of letters between Pepperrell and Warren showed that their senti- 
ments agreed on this point, " the uncertainty of our affairs that depends so much 
on wind and weather make it necessary not to stick at trifles." l Hostages from 
the town were sent to them. It was arranged that Warren should take posses- 
sion of the Island Battery and Pepperrell of the town. The inexperience of the 
civilian General led to precipitancy, of which Du Chambon complained to Warren. 
Pepperrell did not, apparently, know that taking possession was irregular until 
after the ratification of the articles of capitulation. These were hastened to 
completion, and on the iyth the town was yielded up. 

"Monday, 17. This day, the French flag was struck, and the English one hoisted up 
in its place at the island battery. We took possession early in the morning. We hoisted 
likewise the English flag at the grand battery, and our other new batteries ; then fired 
our cannons and gave three huzzas. At two o'clock in the afternoon, Commodore 
Warren, with all the men-of-war, as also the prize man-of-war of sixty guns ; (the 
Vigilant], our twenty guns ships; likewise our snows, brigantines, privateers and trans- 
ports, came all into Louisbourg harbor, which made a beautiful appearance. When all 
were safely moored, they proceeded to fire on such a victorious and joyful occasion. 
About four o'clock in the afternoon, our land army marched to the south gate of the city, 
and entered the same, and so proceeded to the parade near the citadel ; the French troops, 
at the same time, being all drawn up in a very regular order. Our army received the 
usual salutes from them, every part being performed with all the decency and decorum 
imaginable. And as the French were allowed to carry off their effects, so our guards took 
all the care they possibly could to prevent the common soldiers from pilfering and stealing, 
or otherwise giving them the least molestation. The guard and watch of the city, the 
garrisons &c., were delivered to our troops" (Gibson, p. 52). 

1 Vol. I, F . 45- 


The terms gave little satisfaction to the rank and file. The prospect of 
booty was as potent an influence in favour of enlistment as it was in all other 
armies to a much later time than 1 745, and the troops, after a campaign which 
was full of hardship, if not of fighting, saw French property secured to its 
owners. Warren had foreseen the possibility of disorder. He wrote to 
Pepperrell on the i6th : 

" I rejoice at our success : be assured, sir, that I shall always be glad of your approba- 
tion of my conduct. I beg we may all behave to the prisoners that fall under our pro- 
tection by the chance of war, with the humanity and honour becoming English officers, 
and be persuaded it will add greatly to the reputation which we acquire by the reduction of 
this formidable garrison." l 

His words of caution were justified by the result. The French had been 
irritated by irregularities in the official conduct of affairs. They commented on 
Bradstreet being sent in at the head of the detachment which took possession 
of the town. He had broken, from their point of view, his parole, given at 
Canso, by serving in this campaign. They later laid stress on the infraction 
of the terms of capitulation in some of the prisoners being sent to France by 
the way of Boston instead of directly from Louisbourg. They had now more 
substantial grievances. The arrangements to protect the inhabitants were 
inadequate. Pillage, rioting, and insult were the lot of these people who had 
already been subjected to the hardship of so long a siege. Du Chambon com- 
plained to the authorities. Pepperrell entered in his diary on the I9th, " Many 
complaints of abuses done by the English soldiers to the French inhabitants." 
Rejoicing took place and dinners. Haste was made in removing the troops to 
the town and destroying the entrenchments, for there were rumours that a large 
force of French and Indians were close at hand. The inhabitants were shipped to 
France as rapidly as possible. Eleven transports sailed on the 4th of July. It 
was found that as there was scarcely accommodation in the vessels for the people, 
they had to leave behind much of their property, so that to a great extent they 
lost the benefits of the capitulation. They were deprived of their own vessels, 
which fell as spoils to the victors. Bigot, however, secured the King's cash, 
200,000 1., by representing it as the property of private parties. 2 

1 Vol. i, p. 45. 

2 Bigot Memoire. The losses of this siege were not great in men. About one hundred on the English side. A 
French return gives their force and losses as follows : 

Statement of the soldiers, inhabitants, sailors, and fishermen who were in the town of Louisbourg at the beginning 

fthe8ie S e: Soldiers 500 

Inhabitants, sailors, and fishermen . . . 762 1262 

Soldiers . . . . . .90 

Inhabitants, etc. . . . . .138 228 



The garrison of St. John's Island resisted an attack made by provincial 
cruisers, and the younger Du Vivier, its commander, carried off his soldiers in 
safety to Quebec. 1 The inhabitants, unlike those of Isle Royale, were allowed to 
remain undisturbed. 

A joint letter to the Prime Minister was dispatched. Shirley and the other 
Colonial Governors were advised of this victory. 2 The mother country and the 
colonies rejoiced over the capture of a fortress the reputation of which for 
strength had been supposed to be much more nearly commensurate with its 
strategic importance. 

Britain was not ungrateful. Warren was promoted and made Admiral of 
the Blue, and hoisted his flag amid the salutes of his ships when the news was 
received at Louisbourg on the 25th of September. It had been proposed to make 
him a Baronet, but apparently his own representations caused this offer to be with- 
held. The prospect of an hereditary title brought too closely to him, as the full 
tide of his success was in flood, the disappointment of his most personal hopes. 
" Lord Sandwich in his letter mentions the intention to create me a Baronet. I 
have no son, therefore if that cou'd without offence be let alone, I shall take it 
as a favour." 3 

Pepperrell was made a Baronet. To him and Shirley was given the right 
to raise regiments. This in itself was a large pecuniary reward, as the perquisites 
of a colonel were very considerable. Pepperrell, although Warren, a little later, 
thought that he on no account would accept the Governorship of the new de- 
pendency, had on July 30 applied to the Duke of Newcastle for the position. 

"My Lord Duke, I beg leave to trouble yr. Grace to request yr. favour in my behalf 
to His Majesty, that if my Services in ye Expedition against this place have merit'd His 
Majesty's Gracious Notice, I may obtain His Royal Commission for ye Government 
hereof." 4 

Now that the expedition had been found a success, the outlay incurred by 
the provinces in raising and supplying it became of the first importance to them 
in their impoverished condition. Massachusetts could not have undertaken it 
had ready money not been supplied by contributions of its citizens. 5 

To be deducted : 

Killed during the siege . . . . -5 

Wounded . . . . . So i^o 

Remaining alter the siege i ;6o 

Besides the Srs. de Souvigny, la Frcsilliere, and Loppinot, officers, killed (M. St. M. vol. 50, p. 495). This seem to 
include only the combatants, the actual number of inhabitants, including those of the outports, was nearly 8000. 
1 He arrived there on August 7. 
- The news reached Boston e.irly on the morning of July 3. 

3 Warren to Anson, Oct. 2. 

4 Pepperrell to Newcastle, Louisbourg, July 30, 1745. C.O. ;/. 

3 Mr. Dudley Pickman was the largest subscriber to this fund, with the exception of Pepperrell. A handsome piece 
of silver presented by Massachusetts in recognition of his services is still extant. 


The custom in the old wars had been to reimburse the colonies for such 
expenditures. All their expeditions had been undertaken by authority from 
home, but in this case, Massachusetts having been its prime mover, the question 
was raised as to whether the reimbursements should be a matter of grace or 
justice. There was considerable delay in the verification of accounts, and when 
the amounts were settled there were again difficulties on account of exchange. 
While the negotiations were in progress, the value of the bills of the Province 
of Massachusetts had fallen so materially that it was a question as to whether 
one hundred and eighty-three thousand pounds or one hundred and four 
thousand pounds sterling should be remitted. Bollan, who was acting for 
Massachusetts, displayed ability in dealing with all these matters. Finally the 
larger amount was paid over and divided among Massachusetts, New Hampshire, 
and Rhode Island. The share of the larger province was wisely used in reducing 
its paper money. 1 Pepperrell's contribution to the expedition was ten thousand 
pounds. It was presumably repaid, but it is probable that Pepperrell's perquisites 
of two and one-half per cent commission on the disbursements made the expedition 
not unprofitable to him. Douglass does not hesitate to say that it was remunera- 
tive to Shirley. 2 

When the French garrison and inhabitants had left, some attempt to clean 
the town was made, and to put it in a state to resist an attack which might be 
made by the squadron of de Salvert. 3 Colonel Bastide now became important. 
The return which he and Gridley made of the warlike stores in the town bore 
out the contentions of Du Chambon. There were but 27 bbls. of powder found 
in it. Bastide made an estimate of the cost of repairs which were immediately 
required. This amounted to 9000 sterling. While the army, defrauded of 
their hopes of plunder by the capitulation, were engaged in unexciting tasks, 
they saw the navy, which from their point of view had done little, now reaping 
a rich harvest. The day after the capitulation a well-laden French vessel found 
itself becalmed off the mouth of the harbour. It was towed in, a capture, to 

1 The sums paid over were : 

Massachusetts .... 183,649 2 j\ 

New Hampshire . . . 16,355 13 4 

Connecticut .... 28,863 *9 J 

Rhode Island . . - . . 6,332 12 10 

James Gibson . . " . . 547 15 o 

2 Waldo had to write to the home authorities in Feb. 49/50 for ^1339 pay due him. He says Pepperrell was 
also unpaid. C.O. 5/. 

"As writers and preachers forbear publifhing . . . which are fingular, rare or new, left they fhould prove of bad 
example, I fhall only fum up thefe perquifites in this manner: In the fpace of four years, viz. 1741, the introductory 
gratuities from the province, and from ... of many thoufand of pounds and the unprecedented perquifites in the three 
expedition years of 1745, 1746, and 1747, from a negative fortune, was amaffed a large profitive eftate and the loofe corns 
built a country-houfe at the charge of about fix thoufand pount fterling " (Douglass' Summary], 

3 De Salvert heard at sea of the fall of Louisbourg and returned to France. 

1 68 NAVAL PRIZES 1745 

the port, which its master had thought French. The ships of the French East 
India Company had been ordered to rendezvous at Louisbourg. Three of 
them came to that port, where they expected to find refitment and a convoy 
across the Western Ocean. Warren's dispatches tell their fate : 

" On the 22il June a large Ship appear'd in the Offing which I took to be a Sixty Gun 
Ship, and the next morning at daylight I sent out the Princess Mary & Canterbury, & 
had the pleasure to see them from the Rcmparts take her, without opposition, they brought 
her in the day following, & she proves to be the Charmante, a French East India Ship of 
about five or Six Hundred Tuns, Twenty Eight Guns & Ninety Nine Men Commanded 
by Mr. Nouoal of Contrie, who assures us that she is except Mr. Ansons, as good a Prize 
as has been taken this war." 

Thus Warren wrote to the Secretary of the Admiralty on the 25th of July. 
By the fortunes of war he was able in his next letter, that of August I, to go 
on as follows : 

"And have now only to acquaint you that the Chester & Mermaid have brought in 
here the Heron, a French East India Ship from Bengal, pretty rich, by her we learn that 
the Triton is on her passage, and that this is the appointed Rendezvous for their Indian 

Again : 

"On the 2nd inst. the Sunderland and Chester brought in the French ship, Notre Dame 
De la Dfliverance, Capt. Pierre Litant, Twenty two Guns, and about Sixty men, from 
Lima in the South Seas, for which place she sail'd from Cadiz in the year Forty one, she 
has on board in Gold and Silver upwards of Three hundred thousand pounds Sterling, & a 
Cargo of Cocoa, Peruvian Wool, and Jesuits Bark ; She came from Lima with two others, 
each of them much richer than this." 

These were Warren's official accounts of these events so interesting to him 
and to the crews of the ships concerned. 1 

The personal aspect he touches on in the letter to Anson : 

"The Captains that I now send home under Captain Edward's Command carry home 
the South seamens money, and they will pay one hundred thousand pieces of Eight, to my 
Attorneys, and the Eighth of her cargo, and that of the two India Ships when sold, and 
settled, and also of the Vigilant, all of which you will please to vest in the best Funds you 
can for my advantage."' 

1 Ad. Sec., In Letters No. 2655. 

' 2 Warren to Anson, October 2, Brit. Mus. Acid. MSS. 15,957, f. 160. 

From the 6th to the 1 8th of August the Canterbury took on board, according to her Captain's Log, R.O. No. 1 6 1, 
the following treasure : 

"Came on board from the Deliverance South Seaman 39 bags said to contain 1000 Dollars & 9 bags, each bag said 
to contain 300 ' Double Loons in Gould.' 

Received from Deliverance 3 boxes id. to contain 2000 dollars each. 

I 11 -i I GOO 

7 pigs of virgin silver. 

i 7 45 A MUTINY AVERTED 169 

Such captures as these show the enormous growth of Law's one success, the 
French East India Company, founded less than thirty years before, as well as 
the effect of the system of prize money, which made a naval command during 
these wars one of the most remunerative enterprises in which one could be 
engaged. 1 

Warren was appointed Governor, but his commission not arriving, he and 
Pepperrell remained at Louisbourg until the spring of 1746 and jointly 
administered the affairs of a new establishment. The problems with which 
they had to deal were as trying, if not as critical, as those which arose during 
the siege. The rank and file, as well as many of the officers of the provincial 
forces, began as soon as they had entered the town to turn their thoughts to 
getting back to their homes. Shirley's proclamation for raising the troops was 
loosely worded, but the preservation of this important capture, open, it was felt 
by the authorities, to attack from France or from Canada, made the retention 
of these forces at Louisbourg until the arrival of regular troops absolutely 
indispensable. Pepperrell dealt as well with the matter as was possible. The 
sick were sent home ; as many as could be spared of those whose affairs urgently 
required them were also returned, and, showing the importance of one of the 
principal industries of New England, those who had contracts for the supply of 
mast timber were also allowed to go. 

The temper of the troops was, however, unsatisfactory. Shirley was sent 
for, and he arrived, together with Mrs. Warren and his own family, on the iyth 
of August. The troops by this time were mutinous. However, they received 
the Governor with due form and ceremony. 

"The whole army was mustered and placed in the most Genteel manner to Receive 
the Govr. the Genl. walk't foremost the Governors Lady at his Right. Then his Excellency 
&c. The men Stood on Each Side with their arms Rested from ye Gate By ye 
Comondores To ye Barracks att ye Govrs : Landing ye Cannon fir'd from ye Batterys & 
from ye men of war ; when the Battallian was Dismissed there was fireing with Small arms 
for two Hours. His Excellency's arrival was verry Rejoycing To us all." 2 

The dissatisfaction of the troops was at its height in September. On the 
iyth they had plotted to lay down their arms on the next day. Acting after 
consultation with the Council, Shirley addressed the troops and promised an 

Received from Deliverance 32 boxes sd. to contain 2000 dollars each. 
i 1140 doubleoones. 

1 8 bars of gold sd. to weigh 65 \ Ibs. 
1000 dollars in silver & 39 bales of wool. 
22 chests sd. to contain 2000 dollars each, 
ii 3000 

40 3000 dollars each." 

1 Warren also retained of his specie 100,000 Spanish dollars to meet the immediate expenses of the ships 

2 Bradstreet's Diary, p. 33. 

i 7 o FEARS OF ATTACK 1745 

increase of pay to forty shillings a month. 1 His efforts to placate the soldiers 
were successful. On October 2 the members of Council, answering his inquiry, 

" Unanimously declared that it was their opinion that His Excellency's said declarations 
and measures had quite appeased and delayed the spirit of discontent, and that the soldiers 
appeared well satisfied with his declaration to them, claiming that many of them were 
uneasy in their prospects of being detained here from their families till Spring, some of 
them for want of cloths." ' 

When these exciting events had ceased to occur, the garrison settled down 
to what to them would have seemed a dreary winter, with their only occupation, 
the repair of the fortifications and buildings. It proved more than a dreary 
autumn and winter. Louisbourg at its best was a town of narrow streets and 
lanes. The interruption to ordinary life of the siege had resulted in an 
accumulation of filth that turned the town into a midden. The change from 
sleeping in the open, to infected barracks and houses was unwholesome, and the 
entries in the diaries of these months is a dreary repetition of sickness and 
burials. Warren, in addition to the " scorbutick disorder " which afflicted him, 
had a touch of the prevailing disease from which he recovered. The Rev. 
Stephen Williams was at death's door for weeks with sufferings which he bore 
with fortitude, ceasing his ministrations to the men only when his strength was 
completely spent. 

In October the garrison, reduced by mortality and the return of the troops 
to New England, was nominally two thousand men. About one-third of them 
were on the sick list. Warren, who was recovering, more than once, in a long 
letter, touches on the danger of an attack on a garrison of this size where from 
eight to fourteen of its members die daily. 3 

There were causes for alarm. Some of de Salvert's smaller ships touched 
at a port in Newfoundland, which Warren thought might be a base from which 
an attack would be directed. Word was brought that a force of six thousand 
men would be sent down from Canada to retake Louisbourg. 4 It followed the 
same lines as the first scheme for the British attack in 1758, namely, a landing 
in Mire Bay and an advance overland. The town itself was strengthened as 
much as possible. A boom was made ready to protect the mouth of the 
harbour. Guns which could be spared from the ships were mounted on the 
walls and the Grand Battery was dismantled. The adequacy of these 
preparations was not tested.'' 

1 Vol. 10, p. 45. 2 Vol. 10, p. 4'. 

3 Douglass' estimate that New England lost two thousand of its able-bodied people as the price of this victory wa 
exaggerated. Warren said in the spring that two thousand had died since the occupation. 

4 This project, that of Beauharnois and Hocquart, was set forth in a letter to the Minister, Sept. 12, 1745, 
A.X. C", vol. 83. 

* Warren was dismayed at the expense, and assured the Lords of the Admiralty that the utmost economy wai 
practised by Pepperrelt and himself. 

not cxaggcr 


One loose thread may be fastened in. The friction between Pepperrell 
and Warren was only during the period when the troops were inactive, and 
Warren saw that unless more progress was made the expedition would fail. 
Then, irritated by the lack of attention paid to his proposals, the inefficacy of 
the Council's actions, his letters lose their courteous phrasing. It is fair also 
to infer that his bearing in personal intercourse during these days may have 
been very different from that which made him so great a favourite with the 
colonists among whom he had been stationed. 1 

Pepperrell's tone in his letters never varied. It commands admiration. 
He retained his calmness in his dealings not only with Warren, but in those 
with his Council. He was undismayed by the failure of plan after plan, shaken 
neither by the jealousies of his officers, the recklessness of some, the sluggishness 
of others, nor by the unreasoning rashness nor the equally unreasoning 
despondency of his men. For some weeks, under less momentous circumstances, 
for diplomacy made their victory ephemeral, the colonial merchant - general 
displayed many of the qualities which have made immortal the name of William 
the Silent. Pepperrell and Warren busied themselves in providing for the 
future of the colony. They urged that it should be made a free port in so far 
as the Acts of Trade would allow, confirming in this the soundness of the view 
of Raudot and Costebelle. They thought Louisbourg would be an admirable 
port of call. They insisted that it must have a civil government, for settlers 
would not come under a military governor and toleration for all Protestants, 
and they parted with mutual esteem, Pepperrell to dignified colonial activities, 
Warren to professional advancement and an early death. There was opportunity 
later for misunderstandings, had these men been of different calibre. 

New England had taken fire when the news came that the town had 
surrendered to Warren. The Legislature of Massachusetts was precipitate in 
stating its dissatisfaction. The keys were delivered up by Du Chambon to 
Warren. He apparently handed them to Pepperrell, who in turn, at the parade 
on Shirley's arrival, delivered them over to the Governor. 

Pepperrell sums up the matter in a letter to Shirley on July 1 7 : 

" I am very sorry you should meet with anything to damp yor. joy relating to any 
dispute between the Comodore Warren & myselfe, & considering that we are both quick 
in our tempers, I do think ye land & sea have agreed in this expedition as well as ever they 
did on ye like occasion, & if it had not been for some who have had yor. favours I dont 
think there would have been any, and I was well assurd. that before we got possession of 
this place and since that it was of absolute necessity to keep from disputes & differences 
(or otherwise ye grand design might have sufferd.) & I have strove to my uttermost to 
keep things easey. It is true Mr. Warren did tell me he was the chief officer here. I 

1 He certainly placed Pepperrell's character, position, and conduct in the most favourable light in all his letters to 
the home authorities. 


told him, Not on shoar. I look upon it that these disputes are all over, as we both aim 
at ye good & security of this place." 

Warren wrote to Anson about the attitude of Massachusetts : 

" As it is very probable you will see in some of the New England papers, or hear of 
an address from the Council & General Assembly of the Massachusetts Bay to Governor 
Shirley, upon his departure for this place, I think it proper as it carrys a reflection in it, 
both upon the General, and me, upon him for submitting to, and upon me for assuming 
(if it had been true), an undue authority to tell you of it as my Friend, to prevent any 111 
impression with regard to my Conduct, this was done without any manner of foundation 
by 111 dispos'd people, to make a breach between the General and me, to serve some dirty 
end. The General, and I have resented it both to Governor Shirley, and his Council and 
Assemble, who all declare their concern at it, and say they are now convinc'd it was done 
too rashly, upon a misrepresentation, and that they will give us publick satisfaction for it 
when the two houses meet ; I resented this treatment so warmly, that I have had many 
letters of excuse from numbers of the people concern'd in the address." l 

A curious afterglow is thrown on Warren's dealings with the provincial 
officers and men by a posthumous quotation of his opinion of them, given by 
Lord Sandwich in the House of Lords during the troubles with the colonists 

in 1775. 

" As to their prowess, I remember very well, when I had the honour to be at the Board 
at which I now preside, I had the curiosity to inquire about the surprising feats said to be 
performed by those people (the Americans) at the siege of Louisbourg, of the great naval 
officer who commanded on the expedition, as able and honest a seaman as ever lived 
(Sir Peter Warren), who told me very frankly they were the greatest set of cowards and 
poltroons he ever knew ; they were all bluster, noise, and were good for nothing. I 
remember a particular instance he told me, which, from the ludicrous circumstances 
attending it, made a very deep impression on my mind. Soon after their landing, there 
was a battery, called the Island Battery, which commanded the entrance of the harbour. 
Sir Peter having ordered them to attack it, they engaged to perform it ; but what was the 
consequences r They ran away on the first fire. And how did you manage ? Did you 
employ them afterwards, or upbraid them with their cowardice, says I ? No, answers 
Sir Peter, neither would it have been prudent ; I formed the marines and part of the ship's 
crews into a body, to act on shore ; and instead of upbraiding them, I told them they had 
behaved like heroes ; for, if I had acted otherwise, I should have never taken the town, as 
their presence and numbers were necessary to intimidate the besieged." 2 

This is at best a free report of an off-hand statement by Warren, obviously 
inaccurate as a statement of facts. Its tone differs completely from all we 
know of Warren's expressions. Still, this may well have been his opinion of 
these troops. We have instances of individual recklessness like that of the 
man, who enraged by the injury to a borrowed coat, killed many Frenchmen 

1 Warren to Anson, Nov. 23, 1745 > A(ili - MSS. 15,95-, f. 164. s Vol. i, p. 109. 


on the walls from a position he took in the open ; and like that privateer, who 
in his eagerness in the chase of the Marguerite was driven under and disappeared 
in the Gulf. The indifference they displayed to ineffective fire from the walls is 
common among raw soldiers. But if with the qualities of cheerfulness, ingenuity, 
and self-will they did not display military virtues, it makes more significant the 
course of events. The aggressive upholding of colonial claims which we 
associate with the name of Pitt gave in the next war seven years of training to 
these men and their fellows. This training, and the inspiration of a nobler cause 
than the capture of Louisbourg, turned a population, in their first essay as 
soldiers such as Sandwich describes, into troops before whom, at Saratoga and 
Yorktown, the armies of England laid down their arms. 

The winter wore away. In the spring the provincial troops were relieved 
and returned to New England in May. Their places were taken by two 
regiments from Gibraltar, and Pepperrell's and Shirley's newly raised regiments. 

Until the return of the island to France, the garrison was maintained at an 
effective strength of twenty-five to eighteen hundred men. The force of 
June 2, 1746, was : 

Fuller ..... 613 
Warburton . . . .613 

Shirley . . . . . 517 

Pepperrell . . . . 417 

Artillery . . . .64 

Framlon .... 300 


On September i, 1747, the effective strength was 1919, of whom 1709 
were fit for duty. 2 

Pepperrell and Shirley found great difficulty in getting recruits. Shirley 
said it was easier to get 10,000 men for an expedition against Canada, than 
1000 for garrison duty. 3 The state of these regiments in May 1746 shows that 
recruiting had given them 

Pepperrell's. Shirley's. 

Massachusetts . . . 400 

Pennsylvania ... 150 

New York 20 70 

Connecticut 50 

New Hampshire 50 

Louisbourg 300 150 

When one notes that 890 had died in Louisbourg between December and 
April, and that for weeks, in the weather described by Knowles, living and dead 

1 C.O. 5/13. 2 C.O. 5/901. 3 Shirley to Warren, Sept. Z2, 1745 (C.O. 5/900). 


had remained under the same roof, it is not surprising that the adventurous 
preferred a campaign in the open to such service. 1 

Vice-Admiral Townsend took Warren's place in the sea command. Com- 
modore Charles Knowles, Warren's former junior, became Governor. Warren 
returned to Boston with Shirley on the Chester, sailing June 7, 1746, and all 
misunderstanding having been cleared away, the warmth of his reception was 
scarcely less than that of Sir William's. 

One-tenth of the forces destined by a mortified minister to rescue Louis- 
bourg and deliver a counterstroke, which might restore in America the prestige 
of French arms, would have saved the place from capture. Slowness in gather- 
ing together this great armament prevented its dispatch until June 1746. 

The command of the expedition was given to De Roye de la Rochefoucauld, 
Due d'Anville, then in his thirty-seventh year, described by one subordinate as 
worthy to be loved and born to command. In the latter capacity he succeeded 
his father as Lieutenant-General of the Gallies at eleven years of age. Without 
any sea service he was made Lieutenant-General of the Naval Armaments of the 
King, than which but one grade higher was held by those not of royal blood. 2 
Whatever may have been his qualities, every disaster known to the seafarer was 
the lot of his armada. Tempest, the thunderbolt, collision, an appalling epidemic, 
and starvation ruined the expedition. D'Anville died in Halifax of apoplexy, or, 
some said, poison. D'Estournel, who succeeded him, overwhelmed by responsi- 
bility committed suicide, and it fell to La Jonquiere to bring back to France the 
ships and men which had survived. Those who would read its fate will find in 
Parkman 8 pages in which lucidity no less than picturesqueness adorn the tale of 
its ill fortune. 4 

Not only Louisbourg and Annapolis, but New England was alarmed by 
the news of this expedition. The hardy provincials marched from their inland 
homes to defend Boston with an eagerness that they had not displayed before 
the Island Battery. Townsend and Knowles prepared to hold Cape Breton and 
Nova Scotia. The best disposition possible was made of their resources. 
Knowles, looking back over the events of the summer, thought that if the 
French fleet had arrived before August, Louisbourg might have fallen, as there 
were but five or six guns mounted to the land and the breaches made were not 
repaired. 5 But so sturdy was his spirit that with a garrison of only 2015 
effective men, he wrote on September 19, when the arrival of D'Anville was 
expected, " M. le Due with all his force shan't have Louisbourg this Trip " 6 

Knowles knew of the movements of the French fleet. He sent a flag of 

1 C.O. 5/901 and C.O. 5/13. 2 A.\. Marine, C 1 , v.-l. 161. 3 A Half Century of Conflict, ch. xxv. 

* The official documents on the French side are in A.N. Marine. B 4 , vol. 59. Bigot was a commissary in the 
fleet (Memiirt f>cur Messire Francois Bigcr, Paris, MDCCLXIII). 

5 Ad. Sec., In Letters, No. 234. 6 C.O. 5/44. 


truce to D'Anville with prisoners, and learned something of their condition. 1 
Spies whom he sent later gave him the information, that La Jonquiere, who had 
succeeded to the command, sailed to attack Annapolis. 2 Warren at Boston got 
the same news, and while he felt that Louisbourg was secure, grieved for poor 
Spry 3 at Annapolis. Spry awaited the attack which never came, with more 
solicitude for chances of British victory than about what might befall him. 
He wrote to Knowles, " Good God, Sir, if you had but Ten Sail of Ships now 
how easy it would be to compleat the Destruction of this Grand Armament." 4 

No further warlike alarm disturbed Knowles. The administration of 
Louisbourg occupied his attention. He did not share the optimistic views 
of Shirley, Warren, and Pepperrell. He held the worst possible opinion of 
the place. It would cost five or six hundred thousand pounds to put it in 
proper condition. He thought the soil barren, the climate either frost or fog 
for nine months of the year, and within a few weeks of his taking command 
had stopped the carrying out of the designs of Pepperrell and Warren, except 
completing the necessary barracks. He had sound views of the command of 
the sea, and therefore thought little of the importance of Louisbourg as a 

" Neither the Coast of Accadia nor any of the Harbours in Newfld. (except St. John's 
and Placentia) are fortifyed and these but triflingly and yett we continue masters of them, 
and whatever nation sends the Strongest fleet into these seas will always be masters of 
the Cod fisheries for that year whether there be a Louisbourg or not." 5 

Of the people who came he also had a poor opinion. He sent back the 
parish beggars of New England who hung about. He said that rum was 
the chief trade in which were engaged every one in the New England army 
from the General down to the Corporal, 6 and he describes vividly the ravages 
of alcohol. 

" As the Commerce of this Place was changed from Fish to Rum and the loss of so 
many of the New England troops last year was principally occasioned by that Destructive 
Liquor, I found myself obliged for the preservation of His Majesty's Forces to endeavor 
to put a stop to the vending of it in such unlimited quantities and as Admiral Warren 
just before his Departure had published an order for every suttler to lodge what spiritous 
Liquors they were possessed of in the Cittadel casements," 7 

he got possession of 64,000 gallons ; but from secreted stuff, often as many 
as one thousand men daily were drunk, until the supply ran short. A rate 

1 Capt. Scott, C.O. 5/44. 2 Co. 5/44. 

3 Spry was an officer of whom Warren thought highly, and had been sent to Annapolis in the Chester to guard that 
position. He was followed by Rous, now a captain in the navy in command of H.M.S. Shirley, bought from Massa- 
chusetts. On Nov. 4, 1744, Spry had gained reputation among the people of New England by his capture of a Louis- 
bourg privateer. Shirley to Newcastle, Nov. 9 (C.O. 5/900). 

4 Chester at Annapolis, Oct. 4 (C.O. 5/44). 8 C.O. 5/44. 6 Letter of July 9. 7 C.O. 5/44. 


of consumption which had such results must have rapidly depleted the stores 
of the traders. 

His judgment in certain respects was sound. He foresaw that a change 
in the stoppages of the regiments would lead to disturbances and mutiny. He 
was right in this, for when about June 26 Knowles communicated to the 
mustered troops instructions he had received with regard to stoppages, and 
gave an order that they should be deducted from their pay, 

"... in a few hours after the whole garrison was in a general mutiny & the troops 
ran & returned their provisions into store in a tumultous manner & swore that they were 
no longer soldiers. It was impossible to discover any leader, for in an instant there were 
more than a thousand assembled together ; as I thought no time was to be lost to prevent 
the threatening danger I immediately order'd them under arms & met them upon the 
parade & informed them it was His Majesty's Order & that nothing but the exigencies 
of the state for money to carry on the War could occasion this stoppage being made. 
They remonstrated regiment by regiment that they were ready to obey His Majesty's 
commands with their lives, but they must perish in this climate if those stoppages were 
made, that it was scarce possible for them honestly now to supply themselves with 
necessarys and the Common Refreshments of Life in this Scarce and dear place but it 
would be absolutely so with those deductions & that therefore, if they had not their 
full Pay they could be no longer soldiers, all reasoning proving ineffectuall, and perceiving 
many to be heated with drink, I found myself obliged to order their pay & provisions 
to be continued to them till His Majesty's further Pleasure should be known, when 
they huzza'd & said they would serve faithfully. I told your Grace in several of my 
former letters that I dreaded the consequences of such an order being issued & I may 
now rejoice that nothing worse had happened, for I will venture to affirm that had four 
hours been neglected to have given them satisfaction no reasoning would have been 
able to have stopped their rage & force we had not to quell it with." l 

Much to his delight he was relieved to take command of the West Indies 
squadron. On the i8th of September 1747 he resigned the government to Col. 
Peregrine Hopson, the senior officer of the garrison, and sailed the next day for 
Jamaica. Hopson's occupancy of the position was not marked by any events 
more serious than an attack on a block-house at Table Head, erected by the 
English to protect the coal mines. The occasional capture by bands of Indians 
of an imprudent officer, and the incursion of Marin into Cape Breton in i 748, 
which Hopson claimed was a breach of the peace which had then been established, 
broke the monotony of the place. While the officers of its garrison were still 
uncertain as to their fate, 2 diplomacy had dealt with the situation. 8 

1 Knowles to Newcastle, June 28, 1747, C.O. 5/901, p. 128. Choleric and unpleasant as Knowles was, he 
acted in this instance with excellent judgment. 

3 "Some say we shall battle the elements in this damned place for six or eight months longer" (Lawrence to 
Knowles, Oct. 12, 1748, B.M. MSS. 15.956, f. 177). 

3 The forecasts of Knowles proved nearer correct than those of Shirley or Warren. The holding of Cape Breton 
had not proved the advantage to New England which they and many others had hoped. The settlers were few, but 



The principal accounts of the engagement are in the Logs. That of the 
Mermaid is as follows : 

MERMAID, zotA May. 

Hazey Wear., Gave Chace to the S.W. at i wore Ship to the No. Wd. the Chace 
hoistd. a French Ensign & Pendt. We fired our Stern Chace on her wch. she returned 
from her Bow we made ye Sigl. of Discovering a Strange Ship to ye Fleet who were 
all in shore at 2 the chace perceivg. our Fleet wore to ye So. Wd. & gave us his Broadside 
we wore after him and returned it he made all the Sail Possible we kept Close under his 
Starboard Quarter he kept Plying his stern Chase as we did our Bow we Portd. our Helm 
twice and gave him two Broadsides at 6 Came up Capn. Rouse in a Privateer Snow who 
Ply'd his Bow Chace very well at 8 the Commodr. in the Superbe and Eltham Joyn'd 
us the Chace Engaged us Large the Superbe on the Starbd. & we on the Larboard quarter 
at 9 the Chace, struck sent on bd. our boats and brot. from thence the ist and 2d. Caps. 
& part of the Officers it being a Thick Fogg could see no other Ship but the Prize wch. 
was a French Man of War of 64 Guns & 500 Men Called the Vigilant Capn. Maisonfort 
Am Imployed shifting Prisoners & Securing our Riggin Reed, on board 130 Prisoners 
at 8 A.M. the Commodr. Joynd us. ... 

2 ist May. Modt. & Foggy sent on board the ist Mate i Midshipman 20 Men 
Laying too in Compy. the Eltham and Commodr. at 4 A.M. the Commodr. stood in for 
the Land sent on bd. the Prize I Midshipman and 15 Men to Assist she being much 
shattered (R.O. Captain's Logs. No. 820). 

The Captain of the Eltham on the 2Oth enters : 

At 7 P.M. came up with chace she tackt. & Came Close to our Larboard side & 
Discharged a broad Side & A Volley of Small arms which killed one man & wounded two : 
we immediately Returned a broad side a low & a loft with a Volley of Small Arms which 
Shott his fore top saile Yard & mizon Yard away in ye Slings and he called out for good 
quarters, we had Several Shott holes in all our Sailes ye fore Spring Stay was Shott 
away Main braces Driver yard : ye Cacsce (sic} proved to be a french Ship of Warr 
called ye Vigilant of breast of 64 guns bound to Lewisbourg : Reed, much damage in 
ye rigging (R.O. Master's Logs No. 393). 

Pepperrell, than whom none could be better authority, as he would get 
an authentic account from Warren, thus relates the incident : 

About noon a large French ship (which proved to be the Vigilant a ship of war 

this was accounted for by the disturbed conditions of these few years. At least two thousand men died as the result 
of the siege, a large proportion of the young and adventurous of the people of sparsely settled Colonies. The projected 
expeditions against Canada in 1746 and 1747 so upset the normal course of events that New England was unable to 
adequately exploit industries her people had already developed. War and commercial depression rather than any local 
conditions accounted fully for the stagnation of Louisbourg during the years it was under the British flag. 



mounting 64 guns) came up with the Mermaid (in sight of the camp) & fired upon her, 
& soon after with Capt. Rouse in ye Shirly Gaily. Both of those ships fired frequently 
at the Vigt. but did not care to come too near therefore bore away towards the Commodore 
& other of our ships which were nearer ye shore. The Com. & other ships soon discovered 
yr. fire and motions & being to windward of her bore down & in the evening came up 
with her. We heard a pretty constant firing all the Afternoon & in ye evening at a 
considerable distance & hopd they will be able to give a good acct. of her to-morrow. . . . 
After some dispute the Frenchmen having about 20 men killed & abt. as many wounded, 
strook, but it being foggy & a large sea, the Com. not hearing ye cry for qr. gave him 
a broadside & then lost the prize, it being dark, but the Mermaid being near and knowing 
she had strook sent her boat with 4 men on board the prize where yy. stayed all nt. The 
next morn, the Com. discovd. her at a little distance in much confusion her rigging, yards 
& masts much hurt & soon went to work to make ye proper distribution of the prisoners 
& rectifie the ship in order to bring her in. [The discrepancies are illuminating.] 




Whereas there is now encamped upon the Island of Cape Breton near the city of 
Louisbourg, a number of his Brittanic Majesty's Troops under the Command of the 
Honble. Lieut. General William Pepperrell, Esq., and also a Squadron of His Majesty's 
Ship of War, under the Command of the Honble. Peter Warren, Esq., is now lying 
before the Harbour of said city ; for the reduction thereof to the obedience of the Crown 
of Great Britain. We, the said William Pepperrell and Peter Warren, to prevent the 
effusion of Christian Blood, do in the name of our Sovereign Lord George the Second, of 
Great Britain, France and Ireland King, etc., Sommons you to Surrender to his said 
Majesty's obedience, the said city, fortresses and territories ; together with the Artillery, 
arms and stores of War, thereunto belonging. 

In consequence of which surrender, We, the Sd. William Pepperrell and Peter 
Warren, in the name of our said Sovereign do assure you that all the subjects of the 
French King, now in said city and territories, shall be treated with the utmost humanity ; 
have their personal Estates secured to them and have leave to transport themselves and sd. 
effect to any part of the French King's Dominions in Europe. Your answer hereto is 
demanded at or before five of the clock this afternoon. 


To the Commander in Chief of the French 

King's troops, in Louisbourg, on the Island 
of Cape Breton. 


A LOUISBOURG, le 18 mai 1745. 
Nous, Louis Du Chambon, Chevalier de 1'ordre militaire de St. Louis, Lieutenant du 


Roy, Commandant pour Sa Majestic" Tres Chrdtienne des Isles Royale, Canso, St.-Jean et 
terres adjacentes. 

Sur la semination qui nous a e"t6 faite ce jour septieme may vieux stylle, de la part du 
Sieur honorable Pepperrell, Lieutenant Ge'ne'ral, commandant les troupes qui forment le 
siege de Louisbourg, et du Sieur honorable Pietre Warren, commandant 1'escadre des 
vaisseaux du Roy de la Grande Bretagne, mouilles pres du port de la dite ville, que nous 
ayons a lui remettre la dite ville, avec des d^pendances, artillerie, armes et munitions de 
guerre sous I'ob&ssance du Roi leur maitre. 

Le Roi de France, le n6tre, nous ayant confi la defense de la dite ville, nous ne 
pouvons qu'apres la plus vigoureuse attaque couter une semblable proposition ; et nous 
n'avons de re"ponse a faire a cette demande que par la bouche de nos cannons. 



CAMP, June 15, 1745, at 1 / 2 P ast 8 o'clock, P.M. 

We have yours of the date proposing a suspension of hostilities for such a time as shall 
be necessary for you to determine upon the conditions of delivering up the garrison of 
Louisbourg, which arrived at a happy juncture to prevent the Effusion of Christian Blood 
as we were together and had just determined upon a general attack. We shall comply 
with your desire until eight of the clock to-morrow, and in the meantime you surrender 
yourselves prisoners of war, You may depend upon honour and generous treatment. We 
are, your humble servants, P. WARREN. 




SIR, I have yours by an hostage signifying your consent to surrender of the town 
and fortresses of Louisbourg and the territories adjacent, etc., etc., on the terms this day 
proposed to you by Com. Warren and myself; excepting only that you desire your troops 
may march out of the garrison with their arms and colours flying, to be there delivered 
into our custody till the said troop's arrival in France, at which time to have them returned 
to them which I consent to, and send you a hostage for the performance of what we have 
promised, and have sent to Com. Warren that if he consents to it he would send a detach- 
ment on Shore to take possession of the Island Battery. I am, Sir, your humble servt., 




SIR, I have received your letter of this date, desiring that His most Christian 
Majesty's Troops, under your command, may have the honours of war given them so far 
as to march to my Boats at the Beach, with their musquets, and Bayonets, and colours 


flying, there to deliver them to the officers of his Brittanic Majesty whom I shall appoint 
for that purpose, to be kept in my custody till they shall be landed in the French King's 
Dominions, then and there to be returned to him, which I agree to in consideration of 
your gallant defense, upon the following conditions. 

First. That you deliver up immediately to the officers and troops, whom I shall 
appoint, the Island Battery with all the ammunition, cannon warlike and other King's 
stores belonging in the condition they now are. 

Secondly. That all the ships of war and other vessels do enter the Harbour without 
molestation at any time after daylight to-morrow morning, and that the keys of the town 
be delivered to such officers and troops as I shall appoint to receive them, and that all the 
cannon, warlike and other King's stores in the town be also delivered up to the said officer. 

I expect your immediate complyance with these terms and beg to assure you, that I 
am with regard, Sir, your most obt. and humble servant, P. WARREN. 1 

1 Quebec MSS. vol. 3 ; Moreau St. M. vol. 50. 


THE Treaty of Aix-k-Chapelle was finally signed October 18, 1748. Its main 
provisions were arranged in the preliminaries of peace definitely agreed to by the 
contracting parties on the previous 3<Dth of April, and forthwith communicated 
to their colonial governors. The places taken during the war were mutually 
restored, which gave Cape Breton back to France. This disappointed bitterly 
its New England captors, and blasted the hopes of making it the seat of a 
prosperous English colony, of which Shirley and Warren had been the most 
prominent exponents. Pamphleteers of the metropolis expressed the public 
dissatisfaction. 1 Public opinion was dissatisfied with the terms of the Treaty, 
the language, French, in which it was expressed, and the indignity to England 
of giving hostages for the fulfilment of her agreements. 2 

The terms of the Treaty were not better thought of by the French, and 
with more reason. Louis XV. returned the Austrian Netherlands, Maestricht, 
and Bergen-op-Zoom, the two frontier fortresses of Holland, Madras, and with 
it command of the whole Coromandel Coast in India. The former concessions, 
giving up the command of the narrow seas, which it was England's secular 
policy to hold inviolate at any cost, 3 made the action of Louis XV. a kingly 
largess, rather than a business transaction. More humiliating to French self- 
respect were the renewal of the agreement to dismantle the fortifications of 
Dunkirk, and the public withdrawal of the long support given to the House of 
Stuart by the expulsion from France of Charles Edward. 4 

1 The London Evening Post, from October 25 to November 12, 1748, deals frequently with this matter, and severely 
criticizes the terms of peace. On November 10-12 it publishes verses, of which the following is a specimen : 


(To the tune of'Derry Down.') 
Cape Breton's expensive, as well hath been prov'd, 
And therefore, the Burthen is wisely remov'd j 
Which Burthen French Shoulders we settle again on, 
And add our own Stores, our Provisions and Cannon." 

A history of the negotiations and the text of the Treaty are in La Paix a" Aix-la-Chapelle, par le Due de Broglie, 
Caiman, Levy, Paris, 1892. 

8 E.g. "A Letter from a Gent in London ..." 1748, B.M. 101, K, 58 ; " The Advantages of the Definite Treaty," 
1749, 8135, aaa 20; "The Preliminaries Productive of a Premunire," 101, K., 57. The references are to the British 
Museum Library. 8 Corbett, England in the Seven Tears War, vol. i. p. 10. 4 La C. G. p. 205. 



Louisbourg was duly returned. The advantages of a port in Acadia had 
been made evident to British administrators by the three years of possession. 
Louisbourg being no longer available, made necessary the development of Nova 
Scotia, which had lain fallow since 1710. Chebuctou Bay was decided on as the 
site for its capital, to which, in honour of Lord Halifax, President of the Lords 
of Trade and Plantations, his name was given. Colonel the Honourable Edward 
Cornwallis was named the first Governor. He and the first settlers arrived in 
June 1749. The project was carried on with such vigour that in three years, 
Halifax had over 4000 subsidized and more or less satisfied inhabitants, about 
as many as had been gathered in forty years at Louisbourg. 

That town, until the actual breaking out of hostilities, was in an eddy of the 
stream of pregnant events which took place elsewhere. These events demand a 
brief statement even in a history of Louisbourg of the narrowest scope, for they, 
more than any local cause, determined its fate as part of the great colonial 
empire which France was holding with so loose a grasp. 

Commissioners were appointed for the delimitation of the American 
boundaries of the possessions of the two Powers. 1 Their sittings were dragged 
out. Disputes as to procedure, and the language in which documents were to 
be presented, occupied undue time. Claims, widely different, were presented. 
Much irrelevant matter was produced. Little disposition was shown to arrive 
at a common ground of fact, or to abate pretensions which made impossible any 
fair chance of development for the rival. Failure was the inevitable result of 
such procedure. Their deliberations proved fruitless to form a basis for a 
lasting peace, as their records fail to give the later student any clear view of the 
merits of the controversy. 2 It was also agreed that, pending the findings of the 
Commissioners, the status quo ante should not be disturbed by such acts on either 
side as the erection of fortifications, or the placing of troops on the disputed 
territory. The two courts agreed expressly to this stipulation, " that no forti- 
fication, new settlement, or innovation, should be attempted in those countries 
the fate of which was to be finally determined by their sentence." 

The boundaries of Acadia and of the territories to the westward of the 
Alleghanies were the two principal subjects of difference in America. The 
action which England took assumed that her greatest claims to both these 
territories were sound. This action was not that of the active colonial 
administrator eager to distinguish himself by straining his instructions. It was 
carried out by him under specific warrant of the highest authority. 

1 La Galissoniere and Silhouette for France, Mildmay and Shirley for England. Their proceedings opened in 
September 1750, and the English Commissioners left Paris in the latter part of 1754. Shirley returned to America to 
tarnish a brilliant reputation by his military exploits ; La Galissonierc to active service and the defeat of Byng off 
Minorca, and Silhouette to carry on private efforts to adjust the differences between his country and England. 

z For the diplomatic correspondence see R.O. State Papers, Foreign, France, vols. 232 and 233. The suggestion 
seems firt to have been made by France, June-July 1749. 3 ffiitory of the latt War, p. 7, Glasgow, 1765. 


The first question which arose was that of a grant to the Ohio Company. 
This was an association of Virginians of the highest standing, with English 
partners, of whom John Hanbury, a London merchant of great repute and 
influence, was the chief. 1 It petitioned in 1748 for a grant of 200,000 acres on 
the western side of the Great Mountains, upon some of the chief branches of 
the Mississippi. Gooch, Governor of Virginia, "was apprehensive such Grants 
might possibly give Umbrage to the French, especially when we were in hopes 
of entering into a Treaty for establishing a General Peace, which was the only 
Objection he had, and made him and the Council (of Virginia) think it advisable 
to wait His Majesty's pleasure and Directions." This, in part, is the 
memorandum of the Lords of Trade to the Committee of the Privy Council 
(September 2, 1748) on which is based the recommendation of the former that 
the grant be made. 2 

Instructions were given to Gooch to issue the grant, 3 and it was recom- 
mended, on the 23rd of February 1749, by the Lords of Trade to be extended 
to 500,000 acres on the Ohio, one of the conditions being that on the first 
200,000 acres a fort must be erected and the Company place therein a 
sufficient garrison for the security and protection of the settlers. 4 This was 
agreed to in Council on the i6th of March. 

It was, it may be noted, the colonial Governor who, before the Treaty was 
signed, recognized the territory as disputed. It was the highest administrative 
body in the realm which, after peace was concluded, ignored the implications, 
if not the words, of the agreement so recently executed by one of their number. 5 
With this spirit informing the Privy Council it is not surprising to find the 
pamphleteer discussing the development of the northern colonies from the 
standpoint of one who expects a new war ; nor that the proximate cause of that 
war was the operations of the Company so brought into being ; 6 nor, that 
succeeding historians have described the conditions between 1748 and 1756 as 
an imperfectly kept truce rather than a peace. 

The Evening Post praised the French management of colonies as superior to 
the English, and urged war, as Great Britain is as yet superior to France in naval 
power : 

" Let us therefore strike when we are able, without regarding the conveniency of the 

1 " The Ohio Company established and composed of merchants belonging to Virginia and Maryland and several rich 
commoners and lords in the Mother Country" (Burk's Virginia, i8z2, vol. 3, p. 170). 

2 C.O. 5/1366, pp. 411-417. 3 Pp. 422-425, December 13, 1748. * Pp. 427-433 and 434-439. 

5 Lord Sandwich, Minister Plenipotentiary at Aix-la-Chapelle, was admitted to the Privy Council, ist February 1749, 
and was present at the meeting of i6th March. 

6 " Meanwhile, the English traders were crossing the mountains from Pennsylvania and Virginia, poaching on the 
domain which France claimed as hers, ruining the French fur trade, seducing the Indian allies of Canada, and stirring 
them up against her. Worse still, English land speculators were beginning to follow. Something must be done, and that 
promptly, to drive back the intruders, and vindicate French rights in the valley of the Ohio. To this end the Governor 
sent Celoron de Bienville thither in the summer of 1749 " (Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, vol. i. p. 37). 


Dutch, the Views of the Austrians or the safety of H - (Hanover), lest the time come 
when we are not able to help them nor ourselves." l 

The claims of England in Acadia were as extensive as in the Ohio, but not 
as promptly made. There was no pressure from " rich commoners and lords " 
to expedite matters. But within a few weeks after Cornwallis arrived in 
Halifax he had instructions from the Lords of Trade in reference to the 
northern part of the province : 2 

" And as there is great reason to apprehend that the French may dispute the right of 
the Crown of Great Britain to these territories, we further earnestly recommend to you to 
have a watchful eye to the security thereof and upon the proceedings of the French." ' 

England stated her rights even more strongly in the instructions to the 
Commissioners, Shirley and Mildmay : 

" And therefore you are to insist that his most Christian Majesty has no right to any 
Lands whatsoever lying between the River Saint Lawrence and the Atlantick Ocean, 
except such Islands as ly in the mouth of the said River and in the Gulph of the same 
name." 4 

La Galissoniere, then Governor of Canada, was equally clear that these 
lands, now the province of New Brunswick, and that part of Quebec lying 
between the northern boundary of New Brunswick and the St. Lawrence 
River, were part of Canada and not of Acadia. 

Leaving untouched the pretensions of the Powers, we can deal with the facts. 
The population consisted of a very small settlement on the St. John River, and 
some hamlets to the north of the isthmus peopled by the overflow of the Acadians 
on the peninsula of Nova Scotia, as well as somewhat important fishing stations 
on the Miramichi, the Baie des Chaleurs, and the south shore of the St. 
Lawrence. In 1732 the people of St. John River had taken the oath of 
allegiance to England. 5 In the same year the people of Chippody, one of the 
settlements of Acadians, had applied to Armstrong for grants of land. 6 

La Galissoniere admitted that this was the case : 

" Most of the poor people are of Acadian stock, they have been almost entirely abandoned 
by Canada and France since the Peace of Utrecht, and the English have made them believe 
that, having been subject formerly to the French Governor of Port Royal, they owed the 
same obedience to the English Governor." 7 

As regards sovereignty, it would appear that there was not much difference 
between the Powers. France abandoned, as regards administration, the people 

1 Sept. 17, 1745. 

2 The Duke of Bedford wrote Cornwallij on September 26 and November 6, 1749. One of these letter* dealt 
probably with this matter. These letters are not now in the Record Office. 

* N.S. Arch. vol. I, p. 362. * C.O. Nova Scotia, vol. 39. 

* N.S. Arch. vol. I, p. 98. Ibid. p. 92. ~ Can. Ar. Report, 1905, vol. ii. p. 304. 


along the northern shore of the Bay of Fundy. The officials of England never 
penetrated to the more northern settlements of the territory which she vigorously 
claimed. It was, however, used by France down to what the French claimed 
was its extreme southern limit, the isthmus of Chignecto, as the route between 
Canada and Isle Royale ; while, owing to economic and ecclesiastical conditions, 
the intercourse of the people living thereon was closer with Louisbourg than with 
Annapolis. At an earlier time in the winter of 1718, St. Ovide considered 
placing part of the troops of Louisbourg at the isthmus. His choice of Quebec 
was not apparently influenced by any notion that the territory was not French. 1 

The territory, it is clear, was disputed. Mutual distrust, the curse of 
international relations, began to work its evil effects. Gorham, that active and 
seasoned leader of New England levies, visited in force the St. John River in 
the autumn of 1748, alarmed the inhabitants and carried off to Boston two 
Indians. Their return was demanded by La Galissoniere, and became the 
subject of a pungent correspondence between himself, Mascarene, and Shirley, 
and led to the instructions to Cornwallis already cited. 

La Galissoniere sent in the spring of 1749 Boishebert and a detachment 
from Quebec to hold the St. John River as French territory. His successor as 
Governor of Canada, La Jonquiere, sent the Chevalier La Corne in the autumn 
to hold inviolate the territory on the north of the isthmus. In the spring of 
1750 Cornwallis dispatched an expedition under Major Lawrence to dislodge 
La Corne, who was encamped on the isthmus with a military force, supported by 
Indians and Acadians. The numbers of the last were augmented by the burning 
of Beaubassin by the Indians as the forces of Lawrence appeared. Its inhabitants 
were driven to the French side, where, alone, they felt safe from the threats of 
the savage allies of their country. 

La Corne met Lawrence in a parley, April 22, and maintained that he was 
to hold and defend his position till the boundaries between the two Crowns should 
be settled " by Commissioners appointed for that purpose." 2 In short, " his 
replies were so perimptory and of such a nature as Convinced me he was 
determined in his purposes." La Corne's force was superior, " his situation in 
respect to ground was properly chosen, and an argument of his good judgement " 
. . . " til I (Lawrence) to much feared we had no pretensions to dispute that 
part of the country with him." 

Lawrence withdrew to his vessels in the pouring rain, and gave himself up 
to unpleasant reflections. He saw that to dislodge the enemy was impossible, 
and was of opinion that " to have Sat down on one side of the River and Leave 

1 I do not find any reason why Mascarene and Bennett, and the French envoys Denys and De Pensens, did not visit 
in 1714 Beaubassin and more northern settlements. It leaves open, to the bold, the view that both French and English, 
before any question of boundaries had arisen, held that this territory was French. 

2 Canadian Archives Report, 1905, vol. ii. p. 321. 


the Enemy possession of the other was a tacit acknowledgment of the Justice of 
his claim." After considering "whether we could Annoy or Molest them 
further elsewhere at Chipodie or Memim Cook " (Memramcook), against which 
his officers were unanimous, the force returned to Minas Basin on the 25th. It 
would seem that in Lawrence's mind, if not in that of his superiors, the scope of 
the expedition under his charge embraced the harassing of non-belligerent 
inhabitants, as much as dispossessing an armed French force from territory 
claimed as British. Lawrence's superiors evidently did not agree with him, that 
occupation of the isthmus was a tacit acknowledgment of the justice of the French 
claim, for he was sent back in September, and he erected a fort on what the French 
admitted was English territory. 

La Corne was recalled to Canada, and was replaced by St. Ours des Chai lions 
(October 8), who, in the following spring, began the erection of a fort on the 
French position, which was given the name of Beausejour. 1 

Skirmishes took place between the English garrison and the Indians and 
Acadians. Captain How was treacherously murdered, but eventually the 
garrisons settled down to a peaceful and friendly existence, broken at times by 
friction, cemented at others by friendly offices on either side, and with illicit trade 
as a constant bond. 2 

When Vergor 3 took charge, he at once notified Du Quesne that the position 
was not capable of successful defence (November 1754). 

Boishebert, on the St. John, took the same position as La Corne when he 
was visited by Rous, and as successfully held it. Rous, in command of the 
Albany, captured French vessels on the high seas. 4 This led to friction and 
reprisals as well as to diplomatic correspondence. 5 

The activities of French and English on the Ohio and the adjacent territories 
did not reach a condition of stagnation as in Nova Scotia, but passed on to conflict 
so serious, that in the end of 1754 Great Britain took the momentous step of 
sending out regular troops to support its Virginian levies, repulsed in their 
advances into the debatable land. Parkman gives a vivid and picturesque 
account of De Bienville's expedition to strengthen the effective occupation of this 

1 Lawrence's account and that of La Corne are printed in the Canadian Archives Reforrt, 1905, vol. ii. pp. 320 et 
sty. There is also in it a Journal of the events, from September 1750 to July 1751, written by De la Valliere, who was 
detached from Louisbourg with tifty picked men in response to La Corne's appeal for reinforcements. DC la Valliere was 
the descendant of an Acadian seigneur, and from the heights of Beausejour looked down on Isle la Valliere, midway 
between Beausejour and Fort Lawrence, once the home of his family. 

2 The building of Beausejour proceeded very slowly. After La Corne (i~49-5o), its commandants were: St. Ours 
des Chaillons (1-50-51), De Vassin (1751-53), DC la Martiniere (1753-54), and De Vergor du Chambon (1754-55). 

3 He was the son of the Governor of Louisbourg in 1745, and it was through his lack of vigilance that Wolfe's army 
gained its foothold on the plains of Abraham. 

4 They were returned. 

5 The first four vessels which arrived in Louisbourg in 1751 were seized and eventually sold (C.O. 117/395 
Captains' Letters, vol. 2382). 


territory by France, as well as some description of the forts and settlements which 
previously existed. 1 

It is not necessary to carry further the narrative of events elsewhere than in 
Isle Royale. Louisbourg had felt only the indirect effects of these occurrences, 
for it was so unquestionably a French possession, that any action against it was 
not considered within the scope of British operations. 

The transfer of Isle Royale and its dependencies to France had been made 
without difficulty. Charles des Herbiers, Sieur de la Raliere, a naval captain of 
distinction, was chosen as French Commissioner and Governor, and furnished 
with voluminous instructions, which included drafts of the letters he was to 
write. He left France with the men-of-war Tigre and Intrepide, which con- 
voyed transports, carrying about five hundred troops from Isle de Rhe and 
civilian inhabitants of Isle Royale. The frigate Anemone was dispatched after 
him to make more imposing his important mission. 

On the 29th of June 1749 the Tigre was a league off Louisbourg. Des 
Herbiers transcribed his model letter to Hopson, its Governor, and sent it into 
the town by two officers. He chose as his envoys Des Cannes and Loppinot, 
both of whom had been officers in its former garrison. 2 At noon the next day 
the flotilla entered the harbour and exchanged salutes with the shore batteries. 
That afternoon Des Herbiers and his staff were received with all the 
honours, by Hopson and his officers. There were difficulties about the trans- 
port of the British troops and people and other minor matters. In the end they 
were satisfactorily settled. The opportune arrival of Cornwallis at Halifax set 
free British transports which came to Louisbourg. They were supplemented 
by French ships, and so effectively were the arrangements made and carried 
out, that on the 23rd of July Des Herbiers marched into the town, and received 
its keys from Hopson. The French flag replaced that of England over the 
citadel and batteries. Hopson received a certificate that the transfer was 
complete and satisfactory, and the English forces and people withdrew to 

The English ships did not begin to sail, however, till the 3Oth, and the 
Te Deum for the return of peace was deferred, out of consideration for them, 
until August 3. 3 

1 See Montcalm and ffolfe, chap. ii. On colonial wars and reprisals, see Corbett, vol. i. p. 24. 

2 Des Cannes was to be major and Loppinot adjutant of the troops in the new establishment (B, 90, p. 42). 

3 Des Herbiers' account of the transfer is printed in Quebec MSS. vol. 3, pp. 439 et seq. He acknowledges 
handsomely in it the courtesy of Hopson, and the zeal and efficiency of his own officers. The French version of the 
certificate is given in Canadian Archives, vol. ii., 1905, p. 282. See also R.O. France, vol. 233. The difference in the 
calendars used by the French and English, accounts for the apparent discrepancy of eleven days in all dates up to 1752. 

An incident shows the disorders to which such upheavals of population tend. On the 27th of July was baptized, and 
no doubt cared for, an English child aged about three months, abandoned by parents of whom the new-comers could find 
no trace : 


The same care to make prosperous and safe the returned colony as to 
provide for its proper transfer was shown by the Minister. Bigot, who had 
gained with Rouille, now Minister of the Navy, the same standing as he had 
held with Maurepas, was sent to Louisbourg to reorganize the civil service. On 
his recommendation, Prevost, who had been his chief clerk, succeeded him as 
Commissaire-Ordonnateur. Bigot went there on the Diane, and for some weeks 
gave Des Herbiers and Prevost the benefit of his great abilities. 1 

The former inhabitants returned from Canada and France. They found 
the houses in poor condition, as but few of them had been repaired by the 
English during their occupation. Bigot ordered two hundred cows for distribu- 
tion among the people, and for two years they were supplied with rations from 
the King's stores. The fishing was good, but they were hampered by a lack of 
boats. They did their best to make up for the deficiency, by buying the boats 
of the departing English and by activities in the building yard. Ninety to one 
hundred boats were built by October, and many were still on the ways. The 
French who had remained during the English occupation 2 sold boats to the 
new-comers, and row-boats and canoes were used as substitutes for fishing-boats. 

The partly cured cod of the English merchants was bought by the French, 
but, even with the abundant fisheries, there was too small a catch to load the 
unusual number of ships which had come out from France. The merchants of 
Louisbourg, as well as the shipowners, pressed Prevost for permission to buy 
from the English. Notwithstanding the justice of the request, and the hardships 
involved, he refused, but, with a frankness in which he imitated Bigot, he adds 
that in the confusion of the new settlement it is probable some infractions of the 
laws against trade with the English took place. 3 

An augmented garrison, twenty-four companies of fifty men each and a 
company of artillery, were placed at Louisbourg and its dependencies. This 
force was made up from new companies formed for the purpose, and the old 
companies, which had been in Canada since their return from the English 
prisons, after the defeat of La Jonquiere by Anson. Instructions to Des Herbiers 


"This 27th day of the month of July, 1749, I, the undersigned, have baptized conditionally a young English girl about 
three month* old found in Louisbourg when we arrived from France and took possession of the said town, without our 
having to be able to ascertain anything of her father or her mother. Godfather and Godmother were Gilles Lemoine and 
Angelique Lestrange, who gave her the name of Angelique, as witnesses thereof they signed in the Royal Chapel of Saint 
Louis, the Parish Church, for the time being, of Louisbourg, on the same day and year as above. 

X the Godfather's sign. 
" Angelique Lestrangc, P. Pichot. 

"Fr. Isodore Caubct, R.R., officiating for the Reverend Father Superior." 
(Etat Ci%-il Louisbourg, 1746-1752, f. 179, pp. 6--.) 

1 Bigot was in Louisbourg from about the time of Des Herbiers' arrival until August 21. He then went to Quebec. 
Bigot succeeded Hocquart as Intendant of Canada in March 1748. 

J In all, 94 people. s C n , vol. 28, f. 1 60. 


recounted the abuses which had created such disorder among the troops before 
the capture of the town, and asked for such reorganization as would remedy these 
evils. The most important step he took in this direction was the suppression of 
the canteens kept, as a perquisite, by the captains, recognizing as legal only that of 
the Major. In the meantime Des Herbiers received Franquet, an engineer of 
distinction, who was sent out to Louisbourg as director-general of the fortifications. 
The Marquis de Chabert, detached from sea duty, was instructed to correct the 
maps of Acadia, Isle Royale, and Newfoundland, and to fix by astronomical 
observations the principal points therein. He made Louisbourg his headquarters 
in 1751-52, and the results of his labours, endorsed by the Royal Academy of 
Sciences and by the Academic de Marine, were printed in a handsome volume 
in 1753^ 

The ordinary courtesies were exchanged with Cornwallis at Halifax. Good 
feeling on the part of Cornwallis was further marked by his co-operation in 
sending to Louisbourg the body of the Due d'Anville. Le Grand St. Esprit 
bore it from Chibuctou to French territory, and, with fitting ceremony, it was 
reinterred at the foot of the high altar in the chapel of the citadel. 2 

The general instructions of the Minister were to co-operate with La 
Jonquiere in maintaining the rights of France to the disputed territory, to repel 
force by force, 3 and to harass, by the Indians, the new settlement in Halifax, 
but to do so secretly. He was also directed to encourage the settlement of 
Acadians on Isle St. Jean, many of whom had been driven from their homes 
by the disturbed state of the border-land, and the menaces of the Indians against 
those who remained on British territory. They readily passed over to the island 
in such numbers that its population rapidly increased. The instructions to the 
Governors of Isle Royale and of Canada as to their dealings with the English 
might be quoted many times. One memorandum dated August 29, 1749, shall 
suffice, as it sets forth the policy of France. It was read to the King, its apostille 
states, and presumably received his sanction, for the policy it lays down was 
not departed from. After stating briefly the advantages to England and the 
disadvantages to Isle Royale, in particular, of the settlement of Nova Scotia, it 
goes on : 

" Such are, in general, the unfortunate consequences which will necessarily spring from 
these projects if the English can succeed in accomplishing them. As it is impossible to 
openly oppose them, for they are within their rights in making in Acadia such settlements 
as they see fit, as long as they do not pass its boundaries, there remains for us only to 
bring against them as many indirect obstacles as can be done without comprising ourselves, 
and to take steps to protect ourselves against plans which the English can consider through 
the success of these settlements. 

1 Franquet and Chabert were fellow-passengers on the Mutine, which sailed from Brest, June 29, 1750. 
2 Sept. 3, 1746, Quebec MSS., 3, p. 455. 3 To Des Herbiers, Sept. n, 1750, B, vol. 91, p. 49. 


" The only method we can employ to bring into existence these obstacles is to make 
the savages of Acadia and its borders feel how much it is to their advantage to prevent the 
English fortifying themselves, to bind them to oppose it openly, and to excite the Acadians 
to support the Indians in their opposition (to the English) in so far as they can do without 
discovery. The missionaries of both have instructions and are agreeable to act in 
accordance with these views." l 

A fortnight before this memorandum was prepared for the King, Des 
Herbiers and Prevost wrote from Louisbourg (August 15, 1749) that the Abbe 
Le Loutre was carrying out this policy. Bigot had given him, as supplementary 
to the ordinary presents to the Indians, cloth, blankets, powder and ball, in case 
they might wish to disturb the English in their settlement in Halifax. " It was 
this missionary's task to induce them to do so." 

The history of these wretched years on the border-land shows with what 
ardour, self-sacrifice, and cruelty he encouraged the Indians under his charge to 
carry out instructions which had the Royal sanction. 3 In this course the priest 
was not alone. Young Des Bourbes gave Surlaville, April 15, 1756, a budget 
of news from Louisbourg containing this passage : 

"Four savages, two Abenaquis and two Miquemacs, arrived here from Quebec, on the 
3 ist of March. They informed us that a band of outaouvis and chaouenons had raided 
Virginia, they took about 600 scalps, burnt many villages, and took five hundred prisoners, 
all women and children. . . . On the 2nd of April our Governor feasted these savages ; 
they danced before him and presented him with a dozen scalps, taken in the neighbourhood 
of Chibouctou ; they were handsomely paid for their journey and given several presents 
besides." * 

This continued during the season, for Du Fresne du Motel wrote on the 
ist December : 

" Our savages have taken a number of English scalps, their terror of these natives is 
unequalled, they are so frightened that they dare not leave the towns or forts without 
detachments, with the protection of these they go out for what is absolutely needed." 5 

Des Herbiers had accepted with reluctance the post of Commissioner and 

1 French text in Can. Arch. vol. ii. p. 292. 2 ' Ce missionaire doit les y engager." 

3 Vol. 28, f. 1 60. It was later felt at Court that Le Loutre must be restrained. The Minister wrote him on 
Aug. 27, 1751, that he must not give the English any just cause of complaint, although he praises Le Loutre 's wisdom 
in this respect. 

4 "{,>uatre sauvages, dont deux Abenaquis et deux Miquemacs, arriverent icy, de Quebec, le 31 mars. lit nous ont 
appris qu'une partie de sauvages outaouvis et chaouenons, avoient fait coup sur la Virginie, qu'ils avoient leve environ six 
cents chevelures, brusle plusieurs villages et cmmene cinq cents prisonniers, tous femmes et enfants. ... Le 2 avril, 
notre Gouvcrneur regala ces sauvages, ils danserent et luy presentment une douraine dc chevelures qu'ils ont faitcs aux 
environs dc Chibouctou j on leur a payc leur voiage fort grassement et fait, en outre, plusieurs presents '' (Dernieri 
Jours, etc. p. 187). 

8 " Nos sauvage* ont beaucoup leve de chevelures anglaises, qui (sic) ont une terreur sans 6gal dc ces naturels du pais, 
dont ils sont si cfFreics qu'ils n'osent sortir de leurs villes ou forts, sans avoir de detachments a la faveur desquels ils vont 
chercher leurs besoins les plus urgcnts" (Dtrniers Jours, etc. p. 205). (For the English use of Indian methods tee 


Governor, and as soon as his functions as the first were finished, he began to 
press for leave to return to sea duty. 1 The Minister was not ready to make a 
change until 1751. The Minister then named as Des Herbiers' successor the 
Comte de Raymond, Seigneur d'Oye, Lieut.-Colonel of the Vexin Regiment ; so 
for the first time a military officer governed Isle Royale. To add weight to the 
position Raymond was promoted to the grade of Marechal de Camp (Major- 
General), and, to give effectiveness to his administration on its military side, he 
was accompanied by Surlaville, Colonel of the Grenadiers of France, to whom 
was given the position of Major of the troops and the commission of disciplining 
them, as well as to report on the coasts of the island and Acadia. 2 

Raymond set forth from Angoulme, of which town and its castle he had 
been the King's Lieutenant, towards the end of May, embarked on L'Heureux, 
and, after a voyage of fifty days, landed in Louisbourg on the 3rd of August 
1751. He took over the reins of government, and at once Des Herbiers 
returned to France by the same ship. 3 

There was thus a girding of the loins in the bureaux of the French 
Admiralty, when Louisbourg was again under its care. Stores were abundantly 
supplied. The arts of peace were fostered by the expedition of the Marquis 
Chabert. The presence of an engineer of such eminence as Franquet, of a 
soldier of such experience as Surlaville, the raising of the garrison until it 
approached in number that of Canada, 4 showed that a high value was set on 
Louisbourg and its security. 

Raymond was an active man, who made many efforts to improve the 
colony. He visited its various ports and those of Isle St. Jean. He established 
settlements on the Mire River, he was interested in the crops, and looked with 
optimistic eye on the yields of cereals in the rude clearings of the settlers. He 
also proposed the building of redoubts and the opening of roads which were 
strongly opposed by Franquet, Surlaville, and the home authorities. 5 He was 
apparently vain, for he bought the property of St. Ovide, and desired it should 
be erected into a seigneury and countship. While his administration was 
apparently honest, his request for a gratuity of 20,000 livres so astonished the 
Minister that in Raymond's own interest he did not put it before the King. 6 

He was fully alive to the ceremonial side of his functions, and found an 

1 In this he brought to bear the influence of his distinguished kinsman, De 1'Etanduere. 

3 An outbreak took place in the small garrison of Pt. Toulouse in 1750. See vol. 29, p. 369." 

8 Raymond brought with him, as secretary, one Thomas Pichon, a native of Vire in Normandy, to whom we owe 
the Lettrei et memoires pour serttir h fhistoire naturelle, civile et politique de Cap Breton, published La Haye, 1760, and 
London, an engaging and valuable book. He was able and brilliant, but his papers in the library at Vire, and those 
from his hand known as the Tyrell papers, preserved in Halifax, show him as a libertine, and a spy, completely 
selfish and sordid. 

4 Louisbourg, 1200 ; Canada, 1500. 8 Derniers jfours, etc. p. 14. 
8 According to Prevost, Raymond overdrew his account 26,417 1. (C 11 , vol. 33). 


opportunity for ingratiating himself with the Court in the instructions he 
received to have a Te Deum sung for the birth of the Due de Bourgogne : 

" On Sunday i8th of May this important news was announced at day-break by a salute 
from all the artillery of the place and the King's ships, the frigates, Fldele and the Chariot 
Roya/ y which had dressed ship. 

"M. le Comte de Raymond gave a dinner to the staff, the engineers, the officers of 
artillery, and to the other principal officers, to the Conseil Superieur, the Baillage, the 
Admiralty, and to the ladies of the place. 

" He had two tables with 50 covers, served in four courses, with as much lavishness as 
elegance. They drank in turn freely every kind of wine of the best brands, to the health 
of the King, Queen, the Dauphin, Mme. la Dauphine, M. le due de Bourgogne, and to the 
Royal Princesses. 

" Many guns were fired, and the band increased the pleasure of the fte. 

" About 6 o'clock, after leaving the table, they repaired to the King's chapel to hear 
vespers. At the close of the service, the Te Deum was sung to the accompaniment of all 
the artillery of the town and of the ships. 

" They then went in a procession, as is the custom in the colonies, to the Esplanade of 
the Maurepas gate. 

" The governor there lit a bonfire which he had had prepared ; the troops of the 
garrison, drawn up on the ramparts and the covered way, fired with the greatest exactness, 
three volleys of musketry, and the artillery did the same. After this ceremony, the 
Governor distributed several barrels of his own wine to the troops and to the public. 

"The 'Vive le Roi ' was so frequently repeated, that no one could doubt that the 
hearts of the townspeople, the troops, and the country folk, which this festival had 
attracted, were truly French. 

" He had given such good orders in establishing continual patrols in command of 
officers, that no disorder was committed. 

" About 9 in the evening, the governor and all his guests went to see set off the fire- 
works and a great number of rockets, which he had prepared, and were very well done. 

" On his return home, the ball was opened, and lasted till dawn ; all kinds of refresh- 
ments, and in abundance, were handed round. His house was illuminated with lanterns 
placed all round the windows, looking on the rue Royale and the rue Toulouse. 

" Three porticoes, with four pyramids, adorned by triple lanterns and wreaths of 
flowers, rare for such a cold climate, were erected opposite the rue Royale. 

"At the opposite angle, where the two roads cross, two other pyramids were also 
illuminated ; and on the frontal of the three porticoes were painted the arms of the King, 
the Dauphin, and the Due de Bourgogne. 

" At the end of the same street, opposite the three porticoes, were also represented, by 
means of lanterns, three large fleurs de lys and a ' Vive le Roi,' very visibly placed on a 
border above. 

" Between these two principal illuminations is situated the large gate of the Government 
House, which was also adorned at the columns and cornices, by triple lanterns ; above was 
the King's portrait. 

" All round the courtyard there were also fire pots and triple lanterns, as high as the 
retaining wall of the garden. These illuminations were charming in their effect and lasted 


till the end of the ball ; all the houses in the town were also lit up as well as the frigate 
la Fidele. 

" The government house being too small to accommodate all the distinguished members 
of the colony, M. le Comte Raymond gave a big dinner the next day to the clergy and the 
Sunday following to several ladies, officers, and others who had not attended the first fe"te. 

" It can be said that the Governor spared nothing for these festivities and that he gave 
on that happy occasion very evident proof of a rare generosity." l 

This account is anonymous but it so closely resembles, both in style and 
self-praising, the other writings of Raymond, that there seems no doubt it is 
his. It accounts in part for the overdrawing of his salary, of which Prevost 

In spite of his good will, his activities were ineffective. He found the 
difficulties of his position excessive, for he alienated all with whom he had to 
work. Prevost had many griefs against him. Page after page of Raymond's 
memoirs and letters are annotated by the bitter and often unjust pen of Surlaville, 
whose pocket he had touched in the disposition of the canteens. 

He dismissed Pichon on account of an affair of gallantry, which the latter 
resented, as quite outside the Governor's province, for in his view a tender 
heart was perfectly compatible with official capacity. Pichon became his bitter 
enemy, and later wrote in substance that his former patron was " perhaps the 
most foolish of all animals on two feet." 2 Raymond gave him a certificate, 
however, on the loth of October 1753, that he had discharged his duties with 
" all the intelligence, fidelity, exactitude, and disinterestedness possible." 

Surlaville's administration was apparently effective. He lost no time in 
beginning his duties, but the material he had to work on was not promising. 
He visited the fortifications the day following their landing and the official 
reception of Raymond which took place at Prevost's house. The works were 
in a worse state than he imagined. When he held a review, the troops 
performed their evolutions badly, some of them did not know how to handle or 
carry a gun, they were noisy in the ranks, their uniforms were worn and dirty, 
and were badly put on. Surlaville increased the number of drills and made the 
cadets take part in them. He enforced the rules about coming into barracks 
at night, and in a few days was able to note some improvements. 8 

The improvements instituted continued, for, although Johnstone found the 
works " with more the look of Antient Ruins than of a modern fortification," 

1 This anonymous account is dated May 28, 1752, but we cannot vouch for it being an official date. See 
Moreau St. Mery, vol. 50, pp. 420-423. 2 Tyrell Papers, N.S. Archives, vol. 341. 

3 Surlaville went as the official representative of Raymond to announce to Cornwallis his arrival in Isle Royale, and 
brought back a full statement of the military and civil conditions at Halifax. The impression he made there found an 
echo on the frontier, for the English officers at Fort Lawrence sought to obtain from the French at Beausejour con- 
firmation that the functions of Surlaville at Louisbourg portended war (Derniers Jours, etc. p. 31). 



he also bears testimony that " the service was performed at Louisbourg with as 
much regularity as in any fortified place in Europe. . . . This made the town to 
be looked upon as the Athens of the French colonies." 1 

Surlaville endeavoured to enforce the regulations made by Des Herbiers 
and Prevost (October 10, 1749) establishing the price which soldiers should 
be charged for articles supplied by their officers, and made a strong statement 
of the defects of the uniforms worn by the troops. The cloth and linen were 
poor in quality and badly made, the shoes were thin, and it cost a private six 
months' wages to buy a new pair. He rightly thought white was a bad colour 
for uniforms, as it soon got dirty, and the soldier himself followed it. The 
strictures on the clothing supplied for the barracks, in which the men slept 
two and two in unclean box beds, and on the exactions of their officers, make 
quite credible his statement that their recruits were drawn from the dregs 
of the people, for such service could not attract the self-respecting or the 
ambitious. 2 

Surlaville also busied himself in trying to improve the condition of the 
officers, by economies in the lighting and heating, and to benefit both officers 
and men by a better canteen system. He also dealt ably with the purchase of 
the King's stores. His memoranda on these subjects show that he was an active 
and intelligent officer, who remained in Isle Royale too short a time to carry 
into effect any serious part of the reforms he saw there necessary. 3 

The improvement in the troops, which unquestionably existed, even if less 
marked than that described by Johnstone, had been helped, not only by the 
attention given to it by the home authorities, but by the new elements introduced 
into the garrison. The new companies were officered in the main by subalterns 
of the regiments disbanded at the Peace. These gentlemen had served in good 
regiments in the campaigns of Germany and the Netherlands, and brought to 
Isle Royale standards and a point of view different from those of the " family " 
officers who had alone held these positions before this time. There was also 
more interchange with Canada, arising from the alternating garrisons of 
Louisbourg and Canada at Beausejour and Fort Gaspareaux, its dependent 
establishment on the Gulf side of the isthmus of Chignecto. 

These years were for the inhabitants of Louisbourg probably the best they 
had ever seen. It was obvious that the settlement was valued by the Government, 

1 Johnstone ascribes this to Des Herbiers. Quebec MSS. 3, p. 482. Des Herbiers says he set for Louisbourg the 
standard of a French fortress. 

2 The following sums up his criticisms : (i) cloth too thin ; (2) badly cut and costly to make over ; (3) white bad 
colour; (4) stockings bad; (5) shoes thin; (6) paying only once a year bad; (7) only three sizes of gaiters sent out, 
making many misfits ; (8) hats bad ; (9) no distinguishing marks for corporals ; (10) bad linen for shirts ; (n) should 
have caps, ami (12) black instead of white collars (Pap. Surlaville in Laval Univ., Quebec). 

3 Papicrs Surlaville. His comments on letters of Raymond and others show him as a severe and meticulous critic. 
His collection of sixty-six "sottises" of Raymond, if alone preserved, would indicate that he was a malevolent trifler. 


and this gave confidence to the people. The expenditure was large ; the fisheries 
in some of these years gave an abundant yield. Commerce flourished ; many 
vessels were built and bought from New England. 1 And while smuggling 
vessels were condemned and sold, it is not probable that these seizures seriously 
interfered with the trade. The official statements show that it was large, and 
Surlaville says, in one of his notes, that these were untrustworthy in minimizing 
the imports from New England. The trade with Canada largely consisted in 
French and foreign goods, and that with New England, of products of the 
West Indies. 

The Governors promoted the settlement of Acadians in Isle St. Jean, and 
Baie des Espagnols (Sydney) and other points in Cape Breton, returned and 
received deserters from Nova Scotia, and on the whole kept on terms of courtesy 
with its Governor. Raymond retired from the Governorship in 1753, and was 
succeeded by the Chevalier Augustin Drucour, who came in 1754, and was but 
little more than installed in his office when occurrences in the west produced a 
condition in which war seemed inevitable. 

The British Cabinet followed the news of the defeat of Washington at 
Fort Necessity (July 1754) by a decision to reinforce the American colonists, 
driven again, as a consequence of this French victory, to the eastward of the 
Alleghanies. General Braddock was ordered to America with two regiments of 
the line. Newcastle hoped that this might be done secretly, but it was made 
public by the War Office, and was soon known in France. The action of 
England in pressing her rights to the debatable land has been noted. 2 The 
French were now to be driven from all positions which they held on it, by 
expeditions against Beausejour, Crown Point, Oswego, and the Ohio. Never- 
theless Newcastle urged Lord Albemarle, the British Ambassador at Paris, to 
assure the French Ministry that the sending out of Braddock was purely a 
defensive measure. The French determined on their side to dispatch forces to 
Canada and Louisbourg. For the latter point two battalions, the second of the 
regiments of Artois and Bourgogne, were embarked at Brest on April 15, I755- 3 
These forces and the four battalions for Canada were in excess of the forces 
previously sent out under Braddock, but as it was a move of the same kind, 
and but little greater in number, it does not seem that the British Ministers 
were justified in finding it as offensive as they did. Parliament had acquiesced 
in the King's " securing his just rights and possessions in America," and voted 
him a million to that end. The Cabinet, fortified by the public feeling, which 
Mirepoix, the French Ambassador at London, recognized as bellicose, determined 
to send a squadron to cruise off Louisbourg, with instructions to " fall upon any 

1 In 1749 there were twenty-four, of which three were for the West Indies. 
2 Ante, p. 183. s Arch. Guerre, vol. 3404, 89. 


French ships of war that shall be attempting to land troops in Nova Scotia or 
to go to Cape Breton or through the St. Lawrence to Quebec." 

The strength of this squadron was first fixed at seven ships, but as the 
gravity of the step impressed itself upon the Cabinet, its number was afterwards 
increased to fifteen. Its command was given to the Hon. Edward Boscawen. 
He had seen service under Anson and Vernon, and had been the commander-in- 
chief of the fleet in Indian waters in 1749, when the results were in favour 
of Dupleix. 

Mirepoix was assured at his own dining-table by Lord Granville and by 
Robinson, 2 who had just come from Council, that "the information I had 
of the offensive orders given to Admiral Boscawen was absolutely false." 
When one remembers that Granville was the Minister who, " in one of his 
occasional bursts of strong rugged speech which came from him, and a good 
deal of wine taken into him," 4 objected to " vexing your neighbours for a little 
muck," 5 who also was revered as a master by Pitt, it became obvious that 
the charges made by France against the Punic faith of England were not the 
mere effervescence of Gallic sensitiveness. The Ministry took apparently the 
view of Monk at the outbreak of the Dutch War in 1665. "What matters 
this or that reason ? What we want is more of the trade the Dutch now have." a 

The basis of the orders given to Boscawen has been quoted. Those given 
to the French commodore who was to escort the fleet for Canada, off the coasts 
of Europe, were in the ordinary terms : 

" You should, if possible, avoid meeting English squadrons. If you do fall in with them, 
be on guard against their manoeuvres, and if they give ground for supposing that they mean 
to attack, I shall be content that you avoid an engagement in so far as it is possible without 
compromising the honour of my flag." 7 

The troops for Louisbourg were on the Defenseur, Chariot Royal, and 
rEsperance, which did not fall, like the Alcide and Lys, as captures to Boscawen 
off the banks, 8 but arrived safely at Louisbourg on June 14. Their debarka- 
tion was mostly effected by the I9th, although the barracks were not ready 
for them. 9 

Admiral Du Bois de La Motte went to Quebec and returned by the Straits of 
Belle Isle, a daring feat, while De Salvert conducted the Louisbourg ships. 10 
Boscawen, letting the French fleet slip through his fingers (with the exception 
of the Alcide and Lys) in the bad weather off the banks, hurt the standing of 

1 In the Secret Committee, March 24 ; in Cabinet, April 10, 1755. 

2 One of the two Secretaries of State for Foreign Affairs. 3 Corbett, p. 46. 4 Carlyle. 

5 Corbett, vol i. p. 61. " Jane, Hereiies of Sea- Power, p. 151. ~ Waddn. i. p. 106. 

8 Boscawen, post, p. 206. Guerre, 3404, 159. 9 Guerre, 3404, 161. 

10 A.N. Marine, C 1 , 170, sub nom. Pellcgrin. 

" '"*':', ^ 

... . 

sMfA Vr~ $< ^ ^S/;.;;"' 
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England, and produced the minimum of damage to France. 1 After sending 
his captures to Halifax, he cruised with his fleet off Louisbourg. 2 Many 
captures were made, mostly of French ships with provisions, which seriously 
curtailed the food supply of the town. 

On June 18, the Somerset, for the second time, ran in close, and the log 
of Captain Geary reports that she was fired on. 8 The Somerset bore away, not 
knowing the effect of the shot. It was from a gun on the battery upon the 
island. " On its discharge the carriage and the platform flew into a thousand 
pieces, and if the English had known our position their fleet might have come 
into the Harbour without any risk from our batteries not having a single cannon 
fit to be fired." 

" They might have burned all the vessels in it and battered the town from 
the harbour, which must have immediately surrendered. But luckily for us they 
had no knowledge of our infirmities." 4 

Thus Johnstone describes the incident, and says that it showed to all " the 
dismal situation of Louisbourg." 

The events elsewhere in 1755 were more important than at Louisbourg. 
To the west of the Alleghanies the sanguinary defeat of Braddock threw the 
command of the region and the alliances of its Indians to the French. The 
capture of Dieskau at Lake George was a barren victory for the English, and 
Shirley tarnished the laurels he had won as an administrator by his conduct of 
the absolutely unsuccessful expedition against Niagara. In the east Beausejour 
and Gaspereaux had fallen. " Seven bombs which fell in Beausejour have 
obliged Vergore to yield," 5 and the Acadian population, suffering like Issachar 
from the difficulties inherent in choosing either burden, was deported. 

The blockade of Louisbourg roused Franquet from his lethargy. Five 
years had passed since he had come to the country. A diarist thus speaks of 

1 He was dissatisfied himself with the operation ; see Appendix at end of this chapter. 

a It consisted of fifteen ships : Torbay, Gibraltar, Terrible, Grafton, Augusta, Monarque, Yarmouth, Edinburgh, 
Chichester, Dunkirk, Arundel, Somerset, Northumberland, Nottingham, and Anson. 
3 On July 3 Boscawen left for Halifax. 


July 3, 1755. Boscawen sailed from Louisbourg, leaving Mostyn with the Monarch, Yarmouth, Chichester, Edinburgh, 
Dunkirk, and Arundel. To be relieved by Holburne. 

The Torbay was accompanied by the Somerset, Northumberland, Nottingham, and Anson, to Halifax. 

July 9, 1755. Mostyn sailed from Louisbourg, arriving at Halifax on the nth. 

Holburne was left off" Louisbourg with the Terrible, Grafton, Defiance, Augusta, and Litchfield. The Edinburgh, 
Dunkirk, and Arundel were to join him in a few days. They did so on August 10, and the Success in September. 

Seft. 15, 1755. Holburne and his fleet entered Halifax harbour. 

Oct. 19, 1755. Boscawen sailed from Halifax with Mostyn, Holburne, and fleet. 

(Taken from the logs of Torbay and Terrible, and Boscawen's letters to Cleveland of July 4 and iz and Nov. 

'5, 1755)- 

4 De Salvert's ships escaped Boscawen and Holburne, who succeeded him in the station (Quebec MSS. 3, p. 470).' 

5 Derniers Jours, p. 146. 


him, and what he says perhaps explains the little Franquet accomplished during 
that time : " He was a man of military experience, loving good, all his actions 
tended towards it, an honest man, a good citizen, but unhappily a malady so 
ravaged him, and had so enfeebled his bodily energies, that we find only now and 
again the man he was." 

Every observer is agreed that the fortifications were in wretched condition. 
Des Herbiers, Surlaville, Pichon 2 are all unanimous. 8 Franquet had sent home 
alternative plans of new works on the scale of the great frontier fortresses of 
Europe, but little had been done to make effective the existing defences until 
Boscawen's blockade indicated the seriousness of affairs. 

In Europe the action of England was even more energetic and unscrupulous 
than in America. Three hundred French mechantmen were seized on the 
high seas and in English ports. France contented itself with protests, and 
with an accumulation of evidence of England's improper action, which her 
Ministers hoped would stir Spain to take part with her against the violator of 
international laws. In this she did not succeed, although Spain had griefs of 
her own against England. The sole benefit of the representations of France 
was that Holland did not take the side of England, as by treaty bound, for 
by the treaty between them neither party was to assist the other in a war in 
which either was the aggressor. 4 This the Dutch declared was the position 
of England. 

It is hard to credit that a nation which in America was arming savage 
allies secretly against the settlers of the rival power, could be so meek and 
magnanimous in Europe. Hawke ravaged French shipping. France sent 
back to England the frigate Elankford, captured off Brest, and instructed 
the Intendant of Toulon to provision an English fleet cruising in the Mediter- 
ranean should it call at that port. 5 This was only some two score years before 
Burke, lamenting in rolling cadences the sorrows of Marie Antoinette, exclaimed 
that the age of chivalry was dead. Under Louis XV. it survived in this 
fatuous and futile treatment of an enemy which had proved itself insensible 
to the influences d'un beau geste. 

The comparative insignificance of colonial events as compared with those in 
Europe, to which reference has already been made, is demonstrated by the fact 
that, while in 1755 there was armed conflict at every point where the French 

1 Le Chef du Genie est homme de Guerre, aimant le bien, toutes ses actions sont portees a Cela, honncte homme, 
bon citoyen, mai malheureusement une maladie qui le minoit avoit tellement affoibli la machine qu'on ne Retrouvoit 
plus 1'homme en lui il n'avoit que des momcns " (Journal du Siege de Louisbourg, 1758, Arch, de la F. 236 F.). 

- See the latter's reports to Cnpt.iin Scott when he was in the pay of England (Tyrell Papers). 

* See the letters to Surlaville from his friends at Louisbourg. 

4 Corbctt, vol. i. p. 20. 5 La C.-G. p. 242. 


and English came in contact in America, it was not thought necessary by the 
Powers to declare war until operations began in Europe. The action between 
Byng and Galissoniere took place only two days later than the declaration of 
war by England, signed by the King on the i8th of May 1756, and followed 
by that of France on the 9th of June. 

Minorca fell on June 29, and the brilliant operation of the French 
terminated in the triumphal re-entry of La Galissoniere and Richelieu into 
Toulon on the i6th of July, three months after setting out. The outcome of 
this disappointing opening of a war, for which the English people had clamoured, 
was the execution of Byng " for failure to do his utmost." He was shot on 
the quarter-deck of the Monarque, which had been one of the fleet with which 
Boscawen had begun hostilities. 

France occupied herself with land operations and projects for the invasion 
of England. She contented herself with regard to America in reinforcing the 
garrison of Canada. Beaussier de L'Isle was given command of a squadron 
which took out the regiments of La Sarre and the Royal Rousillon ; with them 
went, to gain immortality, le Marquis de Montcalm, as successor to the 
captured Dieskau. 

The English ships, Fougeux, Litchfield, Centurion, Norwich, and the 
smaller Success and Vulture, had wintered in Halifax, and were joined in the 
spring of 1756 by the Graf ton and Nottingham. The squadron was placed 
under the command of Commodore 1 Holmes, who detached the Grafton and 
Nottingham with their tenders to blockade Louisbourg. 

The appearance of Beaussier's ships, returning from Quebec to Louisbourg, 
put to flight the tenders of the English, which were on the point of capturing a 
French merchantman, driven into Mainadieu. The ships of the line came in 
sight of each other on July 26, off Louisbourg. 2 

Beaussier's impulse was to engage, at the risk of repeating the mistake of 
Maisonfort. Wiser counsels prevailed. He went into Louisbourg, landed 
the treasure he had for the place, and cleared his ships of hamper. The next 
morning he engaged the English ships, having supplemented his crews by only 
200 men, although the whole garrison volunteered. Beaussier's ship Le Heros, 
a seventy - four, had only forty-six guns mounted, and was not supported by 
Montalais in the Illustre. The action was indecisive. 8 

After this action Holmes returned to Halifax for a few days, but on the 
7th of August was back again. However, he did not get in touch with 

1 Admiralty List, Book 30. 

2 French ships : Le Heros, 74/46 ; L'lllustre, 64 ; and the frigates La Licornc and La Sirine. English ships : Graftcn, 
70 ; Nottingham, 60 ; and tenders Hornet and Jamaica. 

3 It is, however, so interesting that accounts of it are printed verbatim in Appendix at end of chapter. 


Beaussier when he sailed for France on the I3th. Holmes carried his operations 
further than along the coasts of Cape Breton. He dispatched on August 7 
the Fougueux and Centurion to the St. Lawrence, the Success to Newfoundland, 
and the Litchfield to Ingonish, 1 to distress the enemy. The larger ships 
destroyed the village of Little Gaspe, flakes, stages, and shallops ; Spry adding 
in his report, superfluously it would seem, as the inhabitants were defenceless, 
" without the least accident." 

Things were dull and unpleasant in Louisbourg. The English ships cruising 
off the port made various captures, the most important of which was the 
frigate U Arc- en- del, bringing out money and recruits for the garrison. 
Louisbourg itself was unmolested, but at least three descents were attempted 
on its outports. " They hoped to burn all the dwellings, but, unfortunately 
for them, troops and Indians, placed in ambush in these harbours, hacked a 
number of them to pieces and took the remainder prisoners ; not one escaped, 
and many scalps were taken." 

[The only landing mentioned in the log-books is that from the Norwich, 
September i , at the Gut of Canso : 

" 6 A.M. sent our Barge & Yaul in Compy. with the Success's Barge and Cutter in 
shore after a shallop about 1/4 past when the Barges got along side of the shallop we 
observ'd they rec'd a very brisk Fire of small Arms from the Shore, which oblig'd them 
to put oft", on which the Shallop was shoo'd afloat & pursued the Boats, the Fire continuing 
incessantly from the shore as well as the Launch, One of the Barges by this Time row'd 
only 2 Oars, which the Shallop came up with & took in a little Time, the other Boats 
came along side in about 3/4 of an Hour after viz. our Barge in which 2 Men Killed & 3 
dangerously wounded, 2 of the Success's Bargemen who had jump'd into the Shallop & 
when the attack was made into the Sea & Swam to our Barge One of whom was 
dangerously wounded, our yaul was safe & the Success Cutter had one Man wounded, 
several Shot went through the Barge & not a Mast or Oar in her but had one or more 
Shot in or thro' them." 

The other landings must have been from English privateers.] 
In consequence of the stringent prohibition of commerce with the French, 
enforced as far as was possible by the English Governors, and the presence of 
these men-of-war off the port, the French believed that the policy of England 
was trying to reduce the place by famine. 

"Some of our fishermen, taken prisoner and then liberated at the beginning of this 
campaign, relate that the English intend to intercept all aid and provisions which may come 
to us from Europe, they wish to subdue us by famine and oblige us to give up the keys 
without striking a blow. In spite of the fact that this squadron has seized our ship U Arc- 
en-Ciel, a 54, with 150 recruits on board . . . they will not succeed in their enterprise. 

1 Ad. DCS. 1/481. a The Grafton and her consorts remained cruising off Louisbourg until October. 


We have at the present moment food enough to last the entire colony nearly two 

years." * 

The optimism of Des Bourbes was repeated by M. Portal, an engineer, 
who about the same time wrote, " Du monde, des vivres de 1'argent, de la bonne 
volonte, voila notre position." 2 

Facts, however, seem not to have justified this cheerful statement ; the 
fortifications were wretched, the garrison was inadequate, and within a twelve- 
month the lack of provisions in the town was causing the greatest anxiety. 

The perspective of time enables us to accurately gauge the relative 
importance of the events of this year. 

It was not the loss of Minorca, which Newcastle felt equal to that of any 
possession in the world except Ireland, nor the alarm of the country over this 
loss, nor the fear of invasion, which has always been so potent in its effect over 
the mind of the English people, nor the fall of Calcutta, though it heightened 
the alarm, nor the capture of Oswego by Montcalm, thus closing one of the 
avenues to Canada ; the event of the year was the coming to power of Pitt. 

Newcastle had resigned after his long tenure of office as Prime Minister. 
His place was taken nominally by the Duke of Devonshire, but the real head 
of the administration was Pitt, for whom the people of England had persistently 

At once a new spirit animated the Ministry, new confidence was felt in the 
nation. The importance of warfare in America was recognized, and prepara- 
tions were made for carrying it on with vigour. Pitt's policy was sound in 
that he had no intention of " trying to win America in Europe." A French 
observer saw the justice of his views : " The victory over M. Braddock, 
which has been made so much of in Europe, has done nothing to decide our 
fate. The naval strength of the English was a hydra against which we had to try 
and oppose a like hydra. France should have built and equipped a number of 
ships equal to those of the English, with her gold and her men, instead of 
seeking for them a tomb in Germany, an abyss which has always been our ruin." 

1 " L'intention des Anglais, suivant le rapport de quelques-uns de nos pecheurs, qui ont et pris et relache's dans le 
commencement de cette croisiere, est d'intercepter tous les secours et les vivres qui peuvent nous arriver d'Europe, dc 
reduire notre place par la famine, et de nous forcer de leur en porter nos clefs sans coup fe>ir. Quoyque cette escadre 
nous ait pris le vaisseau L'Arc-en-Ciel, de 54 pieces de canon, dans lequel il y avoit cent cinquante homines de recrue 
. . . ils ne russiront pas dans leur entreprise. Nous avons actuellement pour pres de deux ans de vivres pour toute la 
colonie" (M. des Bourbes a M. de Surlaville, 10 Aoust 1756, Dernier s jours de I'Acadie, p. 190). 

2 Dernier s yours, etc. p. 195. 

3 " La victoire contre M. Bradock qu'on fait tant valoir en Europe, n'a rien moins que dcid6 de notre sort. Les 
forces maritimes des Anglois sont une hydre a laquelle il fallait tacher d'opposer une hydre semblable. C'6toit a la 
construction et a 1'armement d'un nombre 6gal de vaisseaux qu'il fallait employer les hommes et 1'or de la France, et 
non leur chercher un tombeau en Allemagne, gouffre qui a toujours 6t6 notre ruine " (Pichon, Histoire du Cap Breton, 
pp. 268-269). 


Pitt began that prodigious activity which marked his tenure of office. It 
was devoted not only to affairs of state, but to the military and naval operations 
which embraced the protection and extension of the Empire, at all points in 
both hemispheres, where it had a foothold. 

Lord Loudon was the Commander-in-Chief in America. His plan of 
operations, communicated to Pitt, coincided with that which Pitt had himself 
formed. The most important feature in Pitt's policy was a coup de main against 
the French strongholds in America, the reduction of Louisbourg in the early 
part of the season, to be followed by an attack on Quebec. Pitt urged on this 
work, and attempted to animate and unite the colonial Governors in raising 
forces to assist the regular troops, not only in this expedition, but in land attacks 
on the outlying French positions. 

Before his retirement Newcastle had determined to send one regiment to 
America. This was quite inadequate for Pitt's schemes. Early in February 
he wrote to Lawrence that the second battalion of the Royals and six regiments, 
each of 8 i 5 men, are ordered for embarkation, and he hoped would be able to 
sail by the end of the month. 1 The base of operations against Louisbourg was 
Halifax, and, with the expectation that the fleet would sail before the end of 
February, Lord Loudon's plan that he could capture Louisbourg and then 
proceed to Quebec in June was not unreasonable. However, the vigour of 
Pitt was not equal to expediting matters as he had hoped. There was great 
lack of organization in the military services. 2 

Conditions improved, but all the movements were behind the time set in 
Pitt's plans. Loudon had concentrated his forces in New York, and was ready 
at the end of April with a body of about 6300 men and abundant siege material. 
No news came of Holburne, who was to bring out the fleet ; and the naval 
forces in New York, a fifty-gunship and four small cruisers under Hardy, were 
inadequate to cope with the French squadron. 

In June they embarked the troops, but just as they were on the point of 
sailing, they got news that De Beauflremont had been in the West Indies and 
was probably coming north. Further delay took place, for it would have 
been grossly imprudent to move this force without adequate protection. The 
impatience of Loudon and Hardy increased. Finally Hardy sent out two 
cruisers, who reported that the sea was clear of the French between New York 
and Halifax, and in the last third of June they successfully made the voyage. 

There was no sign as yet of Holburne, but the troops were disembarked at 

1 Kimhall, vol. i. p. 2. 

- This last is indicated by the conditions in the previous year. The troops for Loudon lay at Portsmouth until 
June, without transports being hired for them. Cannon were shipped on one vessel, their carriages on another, ammuni- 
tion on a third, and powder on a fourth. The loss of one vessel would make useless the safe arrival of the other three. 
The powder was bought without a test, and proved to be no better than sawdust (Entinck, vol. i. p. 488). 


Halifax, and exercised in attacks on such positions as they would be likely to 
meet ; they were taught to grow vegetables, and later, when an indignant and 
disappointed nation reviewed the failure of Loudon's expedition, this was part 
of the source of ridicule. Holburne's late arrival in American waters (July 9) 
was the chief cause of failure which so completely characterized the movements 
of the British forces in this campaign, but French seamanship and French 
strategy accounted for the decided advantage her fleets had over the enemy. 1 

While Pitt, in February, was vainly pressing on the elaborate preparations 
for attack, France was preparing her forces for defence. A squadron of four 
ships under Du Revest sailed from Toulon to Louisbourg in April. Saunders' 
attempt to stop them with an equal force in the Straits of Gibraltar was un- 
successful, and Du Revest arrived at his destination on June 19. 

On January 27 De Beauffremont sailed unmolested from Brest to the West 
Indies, the English Admiralty not having perfected its arrangements to blockade 
that port by the time the French squadron was ready to sail. He had a force 
similar to Du Revest's, and arrived in St. Domingo on March 19 after very 
heavy weather, and left on May 4, reaching Louisbourg on the jist of the 
same month. 

Du Bois de la Motte left Brest with nine of the line and two frigates. 
Temple West, who Was then blockading the port, had been driven off in a gale 
of wind ; so that the English efforts to destroy any part of the French reinforce- 
ments failed through the unpreparedness of the Admiralty or the fortunes of 
the sea. 

Du Bois de la Motte, Lieutenant-General, arrived in Louisbourg on the night 
of the 2Oth of June. He was in command of the united squadrons, which gave 
him a force superior to that of Holburne's. 2 

The junction of the three French squadrons at Louisbourg was ascertained 
by scouts sent out from Halifax. The men from the English ships were 

1 Holburne received a sharp letter from the Admiralty for indulgences granted to his captains (Ad. Out Letters, 
vol. 518). 

" I believe you have never heard of this A. Holburne, and are anxious to know from whence he came, he is a Scot, 
you know I don't think well of that nation for upper leather, nor was he ever thought much of in our service, he is rich 
and has contrived to insinuate himself into the good graces of Lord Anson, made an Admiral and sent here in my 
assistance, you see by this I don't like him or ever did, having known him from my first entering into service. . . ." 
(Boscawen to his wife, June 26, 1755, Falmouth MSS.). 

2 Le Formidable, 80. UHector, 74. Le Vaillant, 64. La Brune, 30. 

Le Tonnant, 80. Le Glorieux, 74. Le Superbe, 70. La F/eur de Lys, 30. 

Le Deffenseur, 74. Le Dauphin Royal, 70. U Inflexible, 64. L'Abenatkiie, 38. 

Le Due de Bcurgogne, 80. Le Bizarre, 64. Le Belliqueux, 64. La Comette, 30. 

Le He'ros, 74. VAchille, 64. Le Sage, 64. La Fortune, flute, 30. 

Le Diademe, 74. L'E-veille, 64. Le Celebre, 64. L'Hermione, 26. 

(B 4 , Marine, 76.^ 


sickly, 500 had to be left on shore in hospitals at Halifax, and 200 had died. 
On the 4th of August, Loudon wrote Holburne a short note, the point of 
which was : " In view of intelligence rccvd. from Louisbourg is there any 
chance of success in its attempted reduction ? " To which Holburne replied on 
the same day, " that the season is too far advanced, and enemy too strong, 
for attempt to be successful." 1 Thereupon they determined to abandon the 
siege. A strong garrison was left in Halifax, as in the forts in the Bay of 
Fundy ; but most of the troops retired with Loudon to New York. The fleet 
of Holburne began to cruise off Louisbourg on August 19 ; it kept this position, 
making more than one attempt to draw La Motte out from the port. 

The latter refrained from action ; the point in his instructions which most 
impressed itself on him was that he must secure Louisbourg from attack. The 
men from his ships, together with the garrison, occupied themselves in throwing 
up earthworks and in fortifying every cove, both to the east and west of 
Louisbourg, where a landing might be effected, and in keeping in them a 
sufficient garrison to resist a first attack. 

The forces which Du Bois de la Motte had at his disposal were : 

Artois .... 437 

Bourgogne .... 536 
Louisbourg Companies . 805 

Militia . . . 200 77 , . r/ 

volunteers from the Fleet. 
(Quebec Soldiers ... 30 

Acadians and Indians . . 260 Officers . . 31 

Artillery . -5 Men . . . 600 

Officers . . . .150 


The cannon, 68 in number, and two mortars, mounted in entrenchments, 
were all served by these forces, with the exception of the Acadians and Indians, 
who were with Boishebert at Gabarus. 

The frigates of his fleet made occasional cruises about the coasts, and the 
diaries speak of several prizes brought in, mostly by privateers. 2 Holburne kept 
his position off Louisbourg till after the middle of September. On Sunday the 
2 fth the most violent storm known for years proved disastrous to the greater 
part of the English fleet, and upset Holburne's plans for any attack on the vessels 
of Du Bois de la Motte, who after repairing the comparatively slight damage 
done to the Tonnant, returned safely to France. 3 

Holburne got his ships refitted in Halifax, and left there for the winter, 

1 Ad. De. 481. 2 Marine B 4 , vol. 76. Also journal of Fleur de Lys, Ottawa, F, 1-3. 

3 Sec Appendix, p. 207, for the account of the storm. 



according to instructions, eight men-of-war and brought the others successfully 
back to England, a highly creditable piece of seamanship, which helped to lessen 
the resentment of Pitt. 1 



June 8. Torbay and Dunkirk took Alcide^ 64. 

8. Fougueux took French dogger. 

9. Fougueux and Defiance took the Lys, 64. 

19. Litchfield took a brigantine from Martinico for Louisbourg. 

20. Mars captured a snow, UAigle^ Rochelle to Louisbourg. 
26. Arundel took a snow, St. Maloes to Cape Breton. 

July 2. Arundel took a fishing schooner, G. of Cancer to Louisbourg. 

2O. Defiance took a French snow, Prudent^ to Dunkirk, from Bordeaux to Louisbourg. 

20. Arundel took a sloop from Louisbourg. 

21. Terrible took a schooner from Louisbourg to Nants. 

25. Arundel took a schooner from Martinico to Louisbourg. 
Aug. 13. Terrible took a snow, Bourdeaux to Louisbourg. 

13. Litchfield took a snow, also schooner and shallop. 

19. Dunkirk took a snow, Michault^ Martinico to Louisbourg. 

21. Edinburgh and Dunkirk took two French ships, the St. Antonia and Duke de las 

Court, Bourdeaux to Louisbourg. 

22. Dunkirk took the St. Clear^ Bourdeaux to Louisbourg. 

22. Litchfield took a French ship. 

23. Litchfield took the Emmanuel^ Bourdeaux to Louisbourg. 

21 to 23. Arundel employed sacking and destroying fishing-station at Port a Basque. 

24. Dunkirk took a French snow. 

Aug. 25. Dunkirk and Litchfield took the snow, Three Friends^ St. Malones to Louisbourg. 

26. Augusta took a French schooner. 

Sept. i. Success took a French snow, Bourdeaux to Quebec. 

i. Success took a French dogger, Bourdeaux to Louisbourg. 

May 22. Success captured French schooner. 

24. Success fired on an Indian boat. Also on Indians on shore. 
29. Norwich took French dogger, Rochfort to Louisbourg. 

1 Ad. Orders and Instructions, vol. 79, p. 376, see also Ad. Out Letters, No. 521. 

The eight ships were : Northumberland, Terrible, Kingston, Orford, Arc en del, Sutherland, Defiance, Somerset, also the 
frigates, Portmahon and Hawke. The Ha-wke, which arrived in Halifax on Nov. 5, brought to Holburne the erroneous 
report that the French fleet was still in Louisbourg. See Holburne to Pitt, Nov. 4, 1757, P.S. Nov. 5, Ad. Des. i, 481, 
and Kimball, vol. i. p. 125. In Chapter XV. is a statement of the dismay felt when the news of the storm reached London. 

The Stirling Castle and three other ships were ordered on Nov. n to cruise for twenty-one days between Ushant and 
Cape Clear, for the protection of trade and the security of the disabled ships of Holburne's fleet expected from America. 


May 29. Fougueux took French dogger, Old France to Louisbourg. 

29. Litchfield took Douchess of Pontchatrain^ Rochfort to Louisbourg. 

June 2. Success took French schooner. 

13. Litchfield and Norwich took L* Arc-en-Ciel, 52 guns, 550 men. L'Oruebt to 

1 6. Centurion took storeship Equity^ Rochfort to Louisbourg. 

20. Hornet took schooner. 

July 8. Jamaica captured brig, Rochfort to Louisbourg. 
10. Grafton took two fishing-boats. 

21. 'Jamaica took a French ship which she chased ashore. Seized also a fishing- 


Au^. 13, 14. Schooner and sloop chased on shore captured by the boats of the Litchfield 
and Grafton. 

13. Centurion drove a vessel into the harbour of Neganish. 

14. Centurion and Hornet captured do., a schooner from Quebec to Louisbourg. 
24. Jamaica took a schooner, an illicit trader, from Piscadue to Newfoundland. 

Sept. 4, 5. Litchfield landed at Leganish Bay took fish, burnt stages, shallops, etc. 
7. Centurion took sloop loaded with fish. 

7. Fougueux took three French shallops and a small sloop in Gasp6e Bay. 
9. Fougueux and Centurion took a snow, Quebec to Gaspe. 

10. Fougueux and Centurion took a schooner, St John's to Quebec. 

11, 12. Fougueux and Centurion employed in destroying the fishing village of Little 

Gas pee. 


May 13. Dunviddie recapture. 

19. Snow. 

June 4. La Hercule, St. Domingo to Bordeaux. 

6. Dauphin, Cap. Francois to Bordeaux. 

9. Ship, St. Domingo to Bordeaux. 

24. Schooner, St. Eastatius to Salem. 

Aug. 24. Ketch, Rochefort, an illicit trader to Louisbourg. 

28. Providence, Rochefort to Louisbourg. 

Nov. 6. English Snow, recapture. 

This statement has been compiled from Log-Books in the Record Office. The spelling 

has not been changed. 


"June 26, at 8 A.M., 1755. 

" My dearest Fanny cannot think how easy I find myself since I despatched the Gibraltar 
for England, the account I have given of myself good or bad being gone from me, has taken 
a great burden from my spirits, thus to begin a war between two great and powerful nations, 
without an absolute order, or declaration for it, now and then gives me some serious thoughts, 


some will abuse me, but as it is on the fighting side, more will commend me, had I been 
lucky enough to have fallen in with more of them I should have been more commended, 
not but that I have the secret satisfaction to know that I have done all that man could do 
in this part of the world, which no man that has not seen can be any judge of, the sudden 
and continual fogs the cols [V] in this Southern latitude at midsummer and our first coming 
on the coast the dismal prospect of floating islands of ice sufficient to terrific the most daring 
seaman, I know what I have done, is acting up to the spirit of my orders, I know it is 
agreable to the King the ministry and the Majority of the people, but I am afraid they will 
expect I should have done more, the whole scheme is the demolishing the naval power of 
France, and indeed the falling in with those that have escaped me and demolishing them, 
would have been a decisive stroke and prevented a war, but what I have done will add fewel 
to the fire only, and make them complain at all the Courts in Europe if our great men dare 
begin first in Europe they will yet take some of them on their return, they have no 
provisions to stay here all the winter, if they attempt to stay all their men will perish. . . ." 


" When the month of September Came, the Equinox brought the most furious tempest 
ever known in the memory of man. The sea at the same time rose to such a prodigious 
height, Ferdinand de Chambon, the officer on guard at the " Grave " was obliged to quit 
his post with his detachment, to avoid being drowned, after standing their ground until the 
water was up to their knees. It began about twelve at night, and continued with the same 
force until twelve next day at noon. The evening before being fair, clear and calm, the 
English fleet was in its usual station near the entry of the harbour, and everybody imagined 
it impossible for them to get clear of the land and avoid being dashed against the rocks. 
The next morning we expected to see the coast all covered with wrecks. 

"The inhabitants of the Country brought us each moment news of the dismal state of 
the English fleet. 

" All their ships were shattered and dispersed ; five of them were seen together driving 
before the wind towards Newfoundland without masts. 

"Several others were in the same Condition. A fifty-gun ship was lost at the distance 
of four leagues from Louisbourg; but the crew being saved, a detachment was immediately 
sent to them to prevent their being butchered by the Indians. In short it was evident 
that five French men of war, if they had gone out of the harbour in quest of the English, 
would have been sufficient to pick up and take all that was left of the English fleet. . . . " l 

An officer on the French vessel Fteur de Lys tells the same tale of woe : 

" We have gone through the most violent gale of wind seen here for a long time, 
though they are frequent. Last Thursday (the 22nd) it was fine and quite calm ; out at 
sea we noticed a mist which spread towards the harbour in the night. On Friday there 
was a slight S.E. wind with a little fog. Saturday it veered from S.E. to E.S.E. nice and 
fresh. An English vessel was at that time very near the shore, she set sail as fast as she 

1 Chevalier Johnstone, Quebec Hist. Soc., Campaign of Louisbourg. 


could for the open sea ; after mid-day the wind veered to the E. so that was in her favour. 
The wind got stronger from this direction so I let go the big anchor before night fall, very 
carefully so that it should hold fast. At 1 1 o'clock at night the wind got very violent, but 
two hours after midnight it was even stronger, till 1 1 o'clock this morning, when it veered 
to the south and soon to the S.W. I have never seen anything like it. At 3 A.M. the 
Dauphin Royal dragged her anchor, fouled the Tonnant and broke her bowsprit ; the 
Dauphin RoyaTs rudder was broken. At u the Tonnant was ashore, but the wind having 
changed by then to the South, she floated with the tide, her rudder was carried away, her 
mizzcn mast cut off, and she is now much like the others, but without bowsprit, mizzen 
mast or rudder, worst of all she is taking much water. 

" The hawser of /' Ablnaqu'ne parted, this frigate has been thrown ashore, and I do not 
doubt but many of our ships would have had the same fate if the wind had lasted another 
hour. . . ." Sunday, z$th Sept. 1757. Log-Book of the Fleur de Lys. 

We read also in the Anonymous Journal written by one of the officers of 
De La Motte's squadron, on board L' Inflexible : 

"Since the 23rd the winds in the E. and S.E. parts of the island, were constantly from 
the S.E. and were fresh enough, with much fog and rain to make us fear a storm, and so it 
began on the 24th in the afternoon, without much violence at the outset, but at I o'clock 
in the night it turned into a most terrible hurricane, there was not a single ship of our 
squadron that did not drift, although each had four anchors under her bows ; by daybreak 
our situation was lamentable. During the night Le Dauphin Royal fired a canon as signal 
of distress. In spite of our wish to assist them, we were unable to do so. The sea was so 
dreadful that it made us shudder. The cable of the Dauphin Royal broke, she was instantly 
thrown on Le Tonnant where she broke her rudder, the whole of the gallery of the poop 
was destroyed, but these damages were inconsiderable compared with those sustained by Le 
Tonnant) whose bowsprit was broken, also the figurehead and cut- water ; and she was 
thrown, while thus entangled, on the Royal battery, where she struck with violence. 
We were even surprised that she could resist the shock, the mizzen-mast was promptly cut 
away to lighten the stern which was the portion that was suffering most ... If at noon 
the wind had continued for another hour and not changed to the south and south-west, 
nine or ten of our vessels, including that of our Admiral, would have been driven ashore. 
It is impossible to imagine such a dreadful spectacle as that which met our eyes. The 
frigate, rAbenaquise^ the cable of which was parted, was instantly thrown up on the beach, 
along with 25 merchantmen, several of them high and dry. More than 80 boats and 
skiffs of the squadron were tossed by the waves and smashed, most of them on the shore, a 
number of the men on board them perishing. More than 50 schooners and boats met the 
same fate. By 3 P.M. the hurricane having greatly abated, I went in our boat to help ours. 
Sailors, who have been more than 50 years afloat, say that they never saw the sea so awful. 
The ramparts of the town were thrown down, and the water inundated half of the town, a 
thing which has never been seen. The sea dashed with such tremendous force on the 
coast that it reached lakes two leagues inland. ..." 

The incidents connected with her salvage are briefly told as follows by one 
of the French officers at Louisbourg : 


" During the afternoon of the 2yth a boat arrived with a report that whilst passing 
St. Esprit they saw a number of people on the shore, and also many others on the prow. 
Upon this information we sent, next morning, four schooners with sixty grenadiers and 
one hundred soldiers, who were forced back by contrary winds, and went by land. The 
same day a person of the locality brought in his boat Captain Thems (Thane), second 
captain of the said ship who is on board with us, also two sailors. We learn that it was 
the Tilbury 60 guns, formerly part of the Holburne squadron. The Captain, and the 
commander of the grenadiers were drowned, as well as half the crew. Our troops had 
great difficulty in reaching the scene of the wreck, owing to the floods in many localities 
which the gale had caused the sea to submerge. We were anxious to give the shipwrecked 
prompt assistance, for fear of the fury of the Indians, who might possibly get there first. 
This they did, but they behaved very well under the circumstance, their conduct surprising 
us. When a company of savages, 150 strong, made their appearance, not one of the 
English, although half dead with hardship, expected to escape, but a chief came forward and 
reassured them, saying : c Fear not, since the hurricane has brought you to shore we are 
coming to your relief, but if you had come to make war upon us, not one of you would be 
safe, and we would take all your scalps.' The Indians themselves went on board the ship to 
help the others get off. The living were not plundered at all, but as the dead arrived on 
the shore they searched them. . . " 1 

The following facts are taken from the log-books of the English squadron : 

Captain^ Sept. 25, 1757. "Fore stay sail, Main and Mizen stay sail all blown away 
and Main sail split to pieces .... 9^ foot water in the Well, and 9 in the Magazine 
which washed away all the Powder . . . but the Wind shifting and with the assistance 
of an Iron Tiller got clear of the Rocks." 

Devonshire^ Sept. 25, 1757. "At past 3 A.M. the mainsail split all to Pieces. At 
6, the Mizen split to Rags, it then blowing a meer hurricane of wind and a very high sea 
which made a free passage over us." 

Lightning^ Sept. 25, 1757. "At 4 A.M. it blowing an excessive hard Gale of Wind 
we split our Mainsail which blew quite away. At 7, we Shiped a Sea Abaft which stove 
in the Dead Lights, very much damaged our stores and a great quantity of our Bread. . . . 
The Breakers scarce a cable's length from us." 

Newark, Sept. 25, 1757. "Excessive hard gales. Cut away best bower anchor lest 
it shoud bulge the ship. Threw overboard 6 upper deck guns and carriages to ease the 
ship, 8 vessels seen with masts gone, etc. . . ." 

Terrible^ Sept. 25, 1757. "Sunday. The first part strong gales and squally, the 
middle and latter very strong gales and squally thick weather, with Rain. . . . Saw 15 
Sail of Ships, 10 with their masts gone, in Distress. At 10 freed the Ship of Water, 
| past Saw the Land betwixt St. Esprit and Fouch6, W.N.W. about 2 miles, and not one 
mile from the Breakers. . . . Saw one Ship in the Breakers, some near the Shore, Some 
to an Anchor with their masts gone, and some standing off as we did." 

Orford) Sept. 25, 1757. ". . At noon wore ship to the S'ward saw several of our 
Ships some of them having lost their Masts. Saw the Land from the N.W. to N. distance 
4 or 5 Miles the Wind shifted to the Westward." 

1 Moreau St. Mery, vol. 24, f. 3. 


State of the Squadron under the Command of Vice-Admiral Holburne, 
September 28, 1757.' 

"1757, Sept. 28. Windsor, Kingston, Northumberland, Newark, Orford, Terrible, 
Somerset. In company with all their Masts standing. 

" Bedford, Dtfianct. All their Masts sent to the Eastward to take two ships in tow. 

" Invincible, Captain, Sunderland. Fore masts and Bowsprits standing, and have raised 
jury masts to carry them into Port : are in tow. 

" Nottingham. Spoke to by the Orford, yesterday, wants no assistance ; has a Fore 
Mast Bowsprit and jury mast. 

" Graf ton, Nassau. Have been seen with no Masts nor Bowsprits standing. 

" Devonshire, Eagle. Have been seen their Fore Masts and Bowsprits only standing. 

" Prince Frederick, Centurion, Tilbury. We have no certain Accounts, but some of 
these must be the Ships the Bedford and Defiance went after. 

" Nightingale. Has lost her Mizen Mast and Maintopmast. 

" It is generally thought that the Tilbury is lost, and every soul perished, and we are in 
some pain about the Ferret, as she must have been in the Storm ; We had lost Company 
for two days, and she is a very indifferent Sloop, sails badly and very crank. The cruizer 
who I had sent to Halifax to hasten the water out to us was very near foundering having 
been under water several times, with the loss of his boats, guns, and mizen mast and every 
one thing above water ; some of the Ships have lost a few Men and guns and Anchors j 
Bread and Powder greatly damaged, having had so much Water in them. Booms and 
Boats many gone. 

(Signed) "FRA. HOLBURNE." 2 

Holburne's fears proved groundless with the exception of the Tilbury. 
She was wrecked on those rocks near St. Esprit, which still bear her name, and 
it may be that the gold which has been in recent years found on this shore, was 
cast up by the ocean from the ship's hold. Her Captain, Henry Barnsley, was 
drowned, but her First Lieutenant, Thane, was among those saved. Her com- 
plement was 400 men, of whom 280 were saved. 8 


SIR, I desire you would please to acquaint their Lordships that on the 26th July I 
was Cruizing in His Majesty's Ship Grafton with the Nottingham, Hornet, and Jamaica 
Sloop off Louisburg about Three Leagues S.b.E. at Eight A.M., the Man at the Mast head 
discovered four sail to the N.E. which was directly to Windward, we gave Chace and made 
our first Board to the Southward, they steering directly for us till within two Leagues we 
tacked in hopes to have cut them from their Port, and they hauld in for it. Half past one 
P.M. they came to an anchor in their Harbour and a little after we brought too about a 
League from it and hoisted our Colours, the lighthouse bearing North where we lay, at 
four made Sail to the Eastward, soon as it was dark dispatched the Hornet with the in- 
closed Letter to Captain Spry and then stood on as before till three o'clock, when we 

1 Admiral's Despatches, vol. 481. 2 A.I. Dea. vol. 1/481. 8 Ad. List Book, 32. 


tacked and stood in for the Land at seven in the Morning (the 2yth)j the Man from Mast- 
head call'd he saw six sail under the Land about Eight o'Clock. I could see four ships in 
chace of us, and I could with my Glass make them to be Men of War, and see the French 
Commodore's white Pendant very Plain, on which I stood from them to the S.E., about 
a point from the Wind which drew them from their Harbour and thought it the best of our 
sailing, for I judged them above our match, or they would not have come out of Port 
again in so few hours, I believe they only put their Sick and Lumber on Shore and took 
Troops off for they were very full of Men ; half past One P.M. the headmost of the French 
Squadron a Frigate of about Thirty-Six Guns, fired on the Jamaica sloop which she Return'd 
and rowed at the same time, on the Nottingham and our firing at the Frigate she hauld 
her wind and the Jamaica bore away to the S.W., which the French Commandant observ- 
ing made a Signall for the two Frigates to chace the Sloop which they immediately obey'd, 
about two the Nottingham fired her Stern Chace at the French Commandant which he 
returned with his Bow, and soon after I fired mine, finding our Shott reach'd each other, 
Hauld up my Courses, bunted my Mainsail and Bore down on the French Commodore, 
being about a quarter of a mile from him it fell calm and we began to Engage, he being 
on our Starboard side, the other large French Ship a Stern of him, and the Nottingham on 
our Larboard Bow, the two Frigates a Mile from us and the "Jamaica something more. 
Tho' the French Commandant held us so cheap at first by sending his Frigates away, he 
was so Sensible of his mistake that soon as there was wind he made the Frigates signal to 
rejoin Him and fearing they did not come fast enough to his Assistance bore down to them, 
and we followed, at Seven they were all close together, at dusk the Action ceased, they 
standing to the Southward and we to the S.S.E., light airs, our Men lay at their Quarters 
all night expecting to renew the Action, in the Morning at day light the French ships 
bore N.W.b.W. distance four or five Miles, going away with little wind at E.S.E. right 
before it for Louisburg, we wore and stood to the Westward, but they never OfFer'd to 
look at us, the wind fresh'ning, they sailing much better than our ships and the Weather 
growing hazey, lost sight of them about noon, their chief fire was at our Masts, which 
they wounded and cut our Stays and Riging pretty much, I had one Lower deck Gun dis- 
mounted and one upper, Six Men kill'd, and Twenty odd wounded, which is all the damage 
the Grafton received. I here inclose you Captain Marshall's Letter with his Boatswain 
and Carpenter's reports of the Damages received in the Action. The Jamaica's Mainmast 
was shott and is Condemned by Survey, I sent her to Halifax with the inclosed letter and 
the worst of my wound'd men, Employ'd fishing my Main Mast, the 2gth being thick 
Weather could not venture in with the Land as was the 3Oth till noon, when stood in 
and at 4 brought too, little wind at South, at 6 Cabroose point N.b.W. W. Three 
Leagues and Louisburg lighthouse N.b.E. \ E. Four Leagues no ships off the Harbour 
nor could I see plain what was in, it being hazey over the Land, soon as it was dark stood 
away to the Westward for Halifax with the Grafton and Nottingham the ist August join'd 
our ships there and as I wanted much to know the force of the french Ships and from 
whence they came on my arrival at Halifax I advised with Govr. Lawrence and Detach'd 
Major Hale of the Garrison to Louisburg with a Flag of Truce in a Schooner on pretence 
of treating for the Exchange of Captain Lieut. Martin of the Train who was taken by the 
Indians in the Harbour of Passmaquady, and carried to that place, one of my Petty Officers 
I have sent as Master of the Schooner, but as she is not return'd I can only give their 


Lordships my Opinion of the ships. The Commandant I judge, to be a 74, the other a 
64, and two Frigates of 40 and 36 guns. On the jth I saild from Halifax with his 
Majestys ships, Grafton^ Fougueux^ Litchfield^ Norwich^ Nottingham^ Centurion^ Hornet^ 
and Jamaica sloop, the Success has since Join'd us and [I] am now with the Squadron off 
Louisburg, I am, &c., CHAS. HOLMES. 

" Grq/lon at Sea, 

"Louisburg N.W.b.N. Six Leagues, 
"the 2jth August 1756." 

EXT. OF LOG OF THE Grafton (70) 

July 26, 1756. ". . . At \ past 10 saw 4 Sail in the N.E. made sail and gave Chace 
Do. Clear'd ship for Action they bore down to us we kept our Wind which they 
Observing hauld in for Louisburg. Continued our Chace but they having the Advantage 
of the Wind of us got into Louisburg Harbour we found as follows a 74 gun ship a 64 
with 2 frigates of 32 Guns each Come from Quebeck." 

July 27, 1756. ". . . Still Continuing our Chace at i past I P.M. they Anchord in 
Louisburg Harbour Brought too and Hoisted our coulers at 5 the Hornett parted 
Company for Halifax ... in Company the Nottingham and Jamaica ... at 7 A.M. saw 
4 sail under Scatary which we judged to be the french Squadron Come out wore and 
bore away they gave us Chace out all reefs and made all the Sail we Could set Clear'd 
Ship for Action. In Company the Nottingham & Jamaica the French squadron bearing 
N.W. about 2 Leagues we being becalm'd & they Having a fresh breeze Coming up to us." 

July 28, 1756. ". . . At i past i a french frigate gave Chace to the Jamaica & 
began to fire at her but upon the Nottingham and our fire at him he hauld his wind the 
french Comodant at the same time began to Engage the Nottingham Do. we haild the 
Nottingham desiring he would drop a stern that we might Come to a Closer Engagement 
with the french Commandant. Continued engageing him with the Nottingham on our 
Larbd. bow & the french Commadant on our Starboard side with the 64 gun ship on 
our Starbd. quar. till 6 o'clock in the Afternoon at which time the Commadant set his 
foresl. & bore away Do. set Our foresail & followed him he made Sigl. as we suppose for 
Assistance by hoisting a white Flag at His Main Topmt. Backstay from His mast head down- 
ward, and two white Pendants at his Larbd. main yard Arm on which the 2 Frigates drew 
Close to him and Engaged till 40 minutes after 7 when they hauld to the So. wd. & we 
to the S.S.E. being both Sides pretty much Shattered in our rigging we had 5 Men kild 
& 13 Wounded several Guns Dismounted at 6 A.M. saw them N.W. 5 miles wore Ship & 
Stood to the Wt.wd. in Company the Jamaica and Nottingham. . . ." 

Aug. I, 1756. "In Halifax Harbour." 

26, 1756. "Heard the report of several guns in the harbour of Louisburg." 

(Cruizing about Louisburg until 7 Oct. No mention of entering the harbour.) 

EXT. OF LOG OF THE Nottingham (60) 

July 28, 1756. " . . . Begun to fire our Stern Chaces on a Frigate that was Going to 
Bd. the Jamaica & keeping a Continual fire on her Obliged her to Sheer off a short time 
after we begun to Engage the French Comdr. with our Starbd. Guns Do. hauld up the 



main Sail at pt. I Our Comdr. begun to Engage the 64 Gun Ship at pt. 3. The 
French Comdr. made the Frigates Sigl. to Chace the Jamaica we keept on a Continual 
fire we Received from them Shott through our Sails two Shott through the Head of the 
Main Mast, one through the Main Topmast an other that splinterd him abaft, beside 
several Shott in our Hull. The French squadron Consisted of one of 74 Guns one of 
64 one of 40 the other of 36 Guns. At \ pt. 7 left off Engaging the French hauld 
the Wind and Stood to the westwd. with a Light Brieze Employed securing the Main 
Topmt. at 12 getting Pouder filld and getting Shott up and making Wadds ready to 
Engage at 4 A.M. Tackd to the Wt.wd. the Ship ready to Engage as before. At 7 
Empld. overhaulg. the Rigging and Repairing what was Shott away, & Securing the 
Lower Deck Guns & Gunners Stores at 9 Saw the French squadn. Bearing N.N.W. 
4 Leags. Steering for Louisbourg. The Comdr. & "Jamaica In Company." 

Aug. i, 1756. "In Halifax Harbour." 

7 to 27, 1756. "Another cruize off Louisbourg. (No mention of her entering the 


" Grafton AT HALIFAX 7* 8th October 1756. 
" SIR, 

" As I had certain Intelligence that the French Men o' War that were in America were 
sail'd for Europe and there being no Danger to be Apprehended from anything they could 
attempt on this Coast, I thought it most Conducive to the good of His Majesty's Service 
and to distress the Enemy to seperate the Squadron. . . . While they were on these 
different Services I continued with His Majesty's Ships Grafton and Nottingham on the 
Station of Louisburg, where I received the enclosed letter from Major Hale of Colo. 
Lascelle's Regt. who Govr. Lawrence and I prevaild on to go in a Flag of Truce to 
Louisburg (he being Master of the French Language) in order to discover what we could 
of their Men of War and to learn if there were more Expected. He went under pretence 
... to treat for the exchange of Capn. Lieut. Martin. As their Lordships will by these 
letters receive an Account of what Damage the French sustain'd in the Engagement, I 
inclose you my Officers reports of ours. 

" I am, &c., 


" An Account of Carriages Disabled, and Powder fired in the Engagement with four 
French Men of War on board His Majesty's Ship Grafton Commodore Chas. Holmes 
Esqr. Commandt. off of Louisburg on the 27 July 1756." 

_. /-Broke by a Shot from the Enemy .... Fore . One. 

"32 Pound T, i o U 1 T- !? 

Axeltrees \ Bad s P run g b 7 lon g finn g Do - .-.Five. 

'[ Do. Do. Do. Hind ... One. 

" 1 8 pound Axeltree Broke by a Shot from the Enemy . . Hind ... One. 

" 32 pound Cap Square Broke . . . . . One. 

"The above render'd Eight Guns unfit for Action till repaired. Powder fired in the 
Action Barrls. & pds. . . . Ninty-nine, & ten pds. 

(Sign'd) JNO. SMYTH, Gunr." 



"The Report of the Damages done to His Majesty's ship Grafton Charles Holmes 
Esqr. Commander on the 27 July 1756 by engaging with four sail of French Men of War 
of Louisbourg. 


" Received Seven Shott between wind and water. 

" Do. In the Ships Sides Twenty Nine Shott. 

" Do. In the Counter of the Ship Two Do. 

" The Stern laid open, and quarter Gallerys Shott to pieces, the quantity of Glass broke, 
One Hundred and Ninety Seven Pains. 

"The Cistarn of the Chain Pumps part of the Bottom and end entirely Shott away. 

" Part of the Supporter of the Catt head shott away and the Round House and Tunnel 
shot all away. 

" Ten Iron Stantions in the West and quarter Shot away with the Mens Hammocks 
and Twenty Broke. 

" The Three Poop Lanthorns Shot to pieces and the Top Light much Damaged. 

" Two Cranes of the Gangway Shott to pieces. 

" Sundry Dammages done to Ladders, Grating, Boats, &c." 


" One Large Shott through the Body of the Main Mast Eleven foot from the uper 
Deck. The Cheek of the Main Mast Shott to pieces about the Middle of the Cheek 
in length. 

"The Foremast One Shott of two Inches & a half Diamiter five Inches in Just above 
the Collar of the main Stay. 

"The Flying Jib Boom One Third in from the outer end the upper part Cut Two 
Inches in with a Shott. 1 

(Sign'd) "MELBOURNE WARREN, Carpr." 


" Nottingham at Sea, 
"28/A July 1756. 

" SIR, I herewith send you the Boatswain & Carprs. Reports of the Damages Received 
on board his Majesty's Ship Nottingham under my command, yesterday in the Time of 
Action with four sail of French men of War. I hope the Main topmast will stand till I 
have an Opportunity of Rigging an other, it being very much Wounded, but I have 
secur'd him with the Hatch bars and a strong wolding over 'em, the Head of the Main 
Mast, being shot afore & abaft the Mast, just above the Barrel of the Main Yard, is only 
what the Carpenter can Repair, without getting out the Mast, so that we shall soon be 
to rights again. I am, &c., 


1 There is also a long report of damages given by the boatswain 2 full foolscap pages. This has not been copied. 


" DEAR SIR, I desire you will immediately send me out any Ship that may be ready 
to come to Sea to Join me of St. Esprit or between that and Louisburg. I have had an 
Action with the French Squadron who I have made bear away for their Port. My Main 
Mast being much Wounded I was afraid could not secure him at Sea but hope I have by 
fishing him very well and am now going to see if the said Gentlemen have a Mind for 
any more of it. I would have the Ships Join me as fast as they can get Ready, without 
waiting for Each Other. After any One ship Joins me I shall Cruize off Louisburg and 
Scatary agreeable to our Rendezvous. Capn. Hood will give you the Particulars of the 
Action and of their Force. I am &c., 

(Sign'd) " CHAS. HOLMES. 
" Grafton at Sea 

"at Noon Louisburg bore N.E.b.N. 10 or 12 Leagues 

"July ye zgth, 1756. 
"To Capn. Spry, Fougueux by the Jamaica Sloop." 


"HALIFAX, Septem. the i3th, 1756. 

"SiR, I take the opportunity by Mr. Clewitt to give you some Account of my 
Expedition to Louisburg and to Assure you how Sorry I am that I could neither get out 
of that Harbour time Enough to inform you of what it was of the Greatest Consequence 
for you to know, nor get a Sight of your Squadron when the French thought proper to 
dismiss me. 

" On the Third of August as you may remember I saild from Halifax and on the fth 
I arrived at Louisburg where I found Le Heros Monr. Beaussier of 74 Guns Ulllustre, 
Montallete 64, La Serene Brugnon 36 L? AH crone ^ Larrigaudiere 30 Guns being the same 
Ships which you Engaged. Le Heros close to which I was moor'd had 22 Shott which I 
counted in her Larboard Side about a Dozen in Different parts of her Stern. One Shot in 
her Rudder, Her three Topmasts disabled her Main Main Mast fish'd from top to Bottom, 
Her shrouds & rigging Cutt to Pieces, and altogether in a Condition which did great 
Credit to the Grafton, her kill'd and Wounded upon a Comparison of all Accounts 
Amounted to one Hundred the other Ship and the Frigates had not Sufferd any damage 
at all that I could learn, these Ships came from Quebec and their Orders to Land a Sum 
of Money at Louisburg was as they say the Occasion that they did not Engage you the 
Evening you first Saw them, but I have good reason to think that they put into Louisburg 
for a Reinforcement of Men, etc. The Reason that they did not renew the Engagement 
the Next day but run into Harbour was, as an Officer of the Heros confess'd to me 
because that ship was so much disabled. I cannot omit in this Place a Compliment which 
a French Captain paid you, Mr. Brugnon the Capn. of the Serene in a Letter which he 
sent by me to a French Officer at Halifax has these Express'd Words, Les Englois ont 
fait des Merveilles leurs Cannon a e^e" Services Comme de la Musqueterie. 

"These have arrived at Quebec this Summer the Abovementioned Ships together with 
Le Leopard of 64 Guns the Concord and Sauvage Frigates who brought over two 
Regiments Le Sarre & Rousillon. The three last sailed Seperately for France before my 
Arrival at Louisburg the four others of your Acquaintance after waiting till the Heros was 


ready (upon which they had work'd incessantly) sailed out of Louisburg Harbour at about 
7 o'Clock on Friday Evening I3th August, and I supposed according to Intelligence they 
had Received from without steer'd a Course all night by which with the assistance of a 
Fogg in the morning they had the good luck to Escape you. On Saturday the i-fth as the 
True reason for which I was detain'd Ceased the Governour dismissed me and the Instant 
I got my Letters which was 5 in the afternoon I stood out of the Harbour towards your 
station we steer'd S.E. some time and then brought too the wind blowing fresh at S.W. 
on Sunday morning being 12 Leagues to the Eastward of Scatery we stood in for the 
Land and as it was Clear and we Saw Nothing of your Ships I flatterd my self you had got 
Sight of and was in pursuit of the French Ships and immagining my Stay could be of no 
Service I made the Best of my way to Halifax where I arriv'd on Wednesday the i8th 
there is not at present a Single Ship or Frigate at Quebec or Louisburg that I am sure of 
and have reason to think that none are Expected. 

" By a Calculation which I made by Counting the Officers I have good reason to think 
there are not above eleven Hundred men at Louisburg 'tis probable they have Spared part 
of the Garrison to Cannada, they are greatly distress'd there for meat drink and Shoes 
and I assure you fish dress'd different ways makes up great part of their Entertainments ; 
what I have farther to Add is with Regard to One Baptisto Dion who is on bd. the 
Fougueux and whose history is as follows, he Came Pilot last Summer to a French Flag of 
Truce and was detain'd by One of the Admirals as an English Subject and was put on 
board The Fleet in Quality of a Pilot. Mr. Beaussier the Captain of the Herat and Mr. 
Drucour the Governour of Louisburg have both made Strong remonstrances to Mr. 
Lawrence about his being detain'd and Mr. Beaussier said he had as much right to detain 
my Pilot, it is Certain the Man was formerly an Inhabitant of Nova Scotia but it is as 
Certain that he Abandoned long since his Habitation and that his wife and children are 
now at Louisburg. If I may be Permitted to give my Opinion I should think it better 
to Release him for otherwise the French will detain the first person they get into their 
Hands or do something that will put an End to all Commerce and Understanding between us 
which an Exchange of Prisoners or other Business renders often Necessary during a war. 

" Your most obedient Servant, 

(Sign'd) "JOHN HALE." 


" Jamaica at Sea, 

" August 25th, 1856. 

"SiR, Agreeable to your orders I have had a look at Louisburgh. Falling in to the 
westward Monday afternoon I stood very near in, then ran close along shore to the 
Eastward, so that nothing in the Harbour escap'd my Notice, where were only Two 
Topsail vessels. And as I thought it of some consequence to know where the men of war 
were gone to, that engag'd you on the 2/th past I did my utmost to gett a Fishing Shallop ; 
and not succeeding with the Sloop, made all the sail I cou'd off the Land just at dusk, and 
as soon as it was dark stood in again : At 12 sent the Lieutenant in the Pinnace to go & 
lie under the Land to the Eastward of the Lighthouse, with directions to seize the first he 


cou'd. In the meantime I stood off and on ; and at day light was close in, took up the 
pinnace & a shallop she had taken with four men, whom I have examin'd seperately, and 
found to tell the same story. One of the Topsail Vessels in the Harbour is the large 
storeship, that unloaded at Millidue quite unrigged, & the other a snow from Rochfort. 
The Men of War sail'd for France fifteen days since, and were join'd at Sea by a Frigate 
call'd the Concord, from St. Ann. There names and force are as follows ; The Hero, a 
new ship of 74 guns, the Illustrious of 64, the Perfect of 36, & Serene of 30. Upon my 
asking how the French came not to engage the English on the 26th they say they went 
in to put some money on shore, and gett men, and that they press'd a great number that 
night. I then asked them, whether it was not expected, by the people on shore, that the 
English wou'd be taken ; They reply'd every one made sure of it ; and it is allow'd the 
English behav'd well. They likewise tell me that their Commandant had 26 men kill'd 
on the Spot, that Fifty died of their wounds in three or four days, and that above a hundred 
more were wounded : that her Lower masts were so shatter'd, as scarcely to be made 
serviceable by Fishing to carry her home. Her sides full of shot Holes, and had Nine and 
Twenty shot between wind and water ; many of them thro' and thro'. The other large 
Ship but little damag'd ; and the Frigates came off in the same manner. I have made 
enquiry about Major Hale, who went with the Flag of Truce. They say he was detain'd, 
till the men of war were gone, and sail'd next day. . . . 

" This is the amount of what I have collected from the French Men (who are inhabit- 
ants of JLouisburgh) who are now on board the Jamaica, and shall be glad to know whether 
I may be permitted to let them go : I promis'd I would interceed in their behalf with you, 
if they wou'd tell the Truth ; and I believe they have done it, by their agreeing so exactly 
in what they have said. I am &c., 

"SAMUEL Hooo. 1 

1 Samuel Hood was the future Admiral Viscount Hood. 


As English blockades had suspended the normal activities of the people of 
Isle Royale, it is well, at this point, to measure the degree of success they 
reached in carrying on the business for which they had settled in Louisbourg 
and its outports. What else remains of the history of the place is mainly a 
narrative of military events, of its siege and capture ; implicitly, therefore, 
of its failure to protect its people, to maintain French influence on this Atlantic 
seaboard, and to safeguard the sea approaches to Canada. 

The manner of carrying on the fisheries has been described in the 
memoir of 1706 at some length. As its writer, so the present, refers the 
reader interested in the details of this trade to the Sieur Deny's elaborate 
description. 1 A rare book 2 has some pages dealing specially with the Cape 
Breton trade. It may be noted that the Island is spoken of as Cape Breton 
Island instead of Isle Royale, the same survival of a name in common use, 
after an official change, which finds a later exemplification, in the continuance 
to-day of the name of Cape Breton in cases where the correct official designation 
has been since 1820, Nova Scotia. 

The following is a free and somewhat condensed translation of this 
description of the trade : 

Vessels are sent out in three different ways to Cape Breton. 

Some go there simply for fishing, and leave about the I5th of February, 
or, at the latest, in the beginning of March. 

Those which go for both fishing and trading leave during April. 

The others who go simply for trading alone leave in May or June. These 
voyages are usually of seven or eight months, and the vessels return to our 
ports in November and December. 

Fishing is carried on at Cape Breton as in the Petit Nord, but the vessels 
which are sent there are generally only of from 50 to 100 tons and need 

1 Deny's Description of AcaJia, Champlain Society, p. 257 et ie$f. 
* Rfmaryues sur plusieurs (?) branches dt commerce et de nai'igathi, M.DCC.LVII. 



consequently only from four to six boats (Chaloupes) which are bought from 
the people of Cape Breton in barter for fishing gear or merchandise. 1 

The goods sent out are delivered at Louisbourg. The captain lands and 
remains on shore with his trading stock, while his lieutenant goes fishing with 
one or more inhabitants, who under a written agreement for a wage, payable 
in kind, fishes on the ship's account. The captain chooses men skilled in 
catching and preparing cod. The vessels of 100 tons have ordinarily twenty- 
five or twenty-six men, sometimes hired at a monthly wage, sometimes on shares. 
In either case the owner makes them advances. 

The captain keeping shop at Louisbourg sells his goods for ready money, 
that is to say, payable at the end of the fishing season, which ordinarily lasts 
four months, either in cod at an agreed price, or in Bills of Exchange. 

A vessel of 100 tons for this voyage costs usually 24,000 livres : its cargo 
about 18,000, and the wages and provisions for twenty-five men, about 10,000 

The cargo of a vessel of 100 tons for trading at Cape Breton would 
consist of salt provisions, fishing implements, ship chandlery, stuffs, boots 
and shoes, lead, iron, linen, a small quantity of brandy, wine and spirits. The 
only touch of luxury among the commodities is, that in mentioning shoes 
(Souliers) for women, the list adds for the most part, coloured ones. 2 

The principal consumption of dried cod is at Marseilles, where the greater 
part of the vessels discharge. 3 Thence some is sent to Italy. Cadiz and 
Alicante take from Marseilles nine or ten cargoes, and the balance is distributed 
to Bordeaux, La Rochelle, Nantes, St. Malo, and Havre. 

In fishing for dry and green cod, Granville sends 55 to 60 vessels. The 
ports between Agon and St. Malo 65 to 80 ; Nantes, Olonne, and neighbouring 
ports, 55 to 60 vessels. 

From St. Malo, Nantes, La Rochelle, Bordeaux, and Bayonne 60 to 80 
vessels go to Cape Breton for fishing and trading. 

The voyages for dry and green cod, including those to Gaspe and Labrador, 
employ fifteen or sixteen thousand seamen, and the air of the climate is so 
healthy that in ordinary seasons there scarcely die ten out of this whole number. 
With these there are from eighteen hundred to two thousand apprentices. 

The same writer devotes a few pages to the fisheries of New England, 
in which he says that from Boston, Plymouth, Barnstaple, Cape Ann, and 
Marblehead, are sent out annually 180 vessels of 35 to 40 tons, and from 
Nova Scotia (Canso) 1 7 or 1 8 vessels, and that each of these makes three trips 
a season, taking from 200 to 250 quintals each voyage. 4 He speaks of the 

1 The number of boats seems overstated by the official returns. 2 " Surtout en couleurs." 

8 New England also did a large trade with this port. 4 His estimate is less than that of Douglass'. 


illicit trade with foreign ports, and estimates the number of men employed 
as from seventeen to eighteen hundred. 

He concludes his sketch with a panegyric on the people of this industry, 
and notes the lack of attention to the services of the sailor-fishermen in 
comparison with that of the soldier. " One will recognize that the latter is 
useful to the State only in time of war, and nevertheless, that he costs at all 
times at least 125 livres a year, and that the sailor who serves his country 
at all times, who even enriches it by his labour and industry, costs the State 
only when the King makes him serve on his vessels ; these men, brought up 
so to speak among the dangers of the coasts, whom the greatest perils do 
not amaze, are as nimble in handling vessels, as intrepid in conflicts. Does 
not this class of men justly deserve a high place among the objects of the 
State, of which to-day its only rival is a Maritime Power ? " 

In addition to the fisheries conducted from French ports, there was the 
shore fishery of Isle Royale carried on by its own people, and occupying the 
labours of its permanent inhabitants, and the capital of the merchants resident at 
Louisbourg. Many of these merchants were, judging by such names as 
Rodriques and Daccarette, originally Basques, and long in the business. The 
representatives of the Rodriques in 1781 appealed to the Assemblee Nationale 
for a loan to carry on their business. They recounted in their memoir that 
they had lost all, first, at the capture of Port Royale in 1710, then at that of 
Louisbourg in '45 and in '58, wherein their losses were 240,000 1., and, again, 
at the capture of St. Pierre-Miquelon in 1778. They stated that at Louisbourg 
they had employed 200 to 300 fishermen. 1 Early in the history of Louisbourg, 
Normans also came there, although the majority of the names are Basque. 
Indeed a Widow Onfroy claimed to have begun this trade, in which she was 
followed by other outfitters of St. Malo. The traveller in France at all times 
has been struck with the business capacity of the Frenchwoman. The conduct 
of a fishing business at an outport of Isle Royale is a striking example of this 
capacity, which was exercised by more than the Malouin bourgeoise. Other 
women at various times are noted as administering fishing stations, usually 
established by a deceased husband. 2 

The boat-builders seem to have been Acadians, and it is early noted that 
scarcely a vessel came out which did not require a mast or spar, the supplying 
of which gave employment to the habitant. It also led to poaching on British 

1 Their many purchases of vessels from the New Englanders in '49 and '50 would seem to substantiate their 

3 In 1753 at Petit Lorambec, we note four widows. One owned five chaloupes and had twenty-five fisher- 
men. Another, four fishermen. The third owned two chaloupes and had nine fishermen. At Mire, one widow, 
Marie la Boyne, owned a schooner and grew wheat, corn, and fruit. At Port Dauphin we note another woman owner 
of property. 



territory, for many fine sticks were brought from Pictou, presumably rather for 
these refittings than for the vessels which were built on the island. 1 

The proximity of Isle Royale to the banks, 2 the excellence of the shore 
fishing, that is the catch made in open boats, which a more or less fabulous 
New England statement said was so good that the fish were taken with grapnels, 
and the skill of the French fisherman made Louisbourg a place of the first rank 
in this industry. Its annual catch was about 150,000 quintals. How great, 
relatively, is measured by the fact that in its best days, the Marblehead district 
caught 120,000 quintals, and that from the establishment of Louisbourg the 
New England fisheries declined. 3 

The commerce which resulted from these products of the sea was large : 
some 7000 or 8000 tons of valuable commodities to be transported. In 
consequence, Louisbourg and its outports had a splendid concourse of vessels 
during its busy season. Below is tabulated the shipping of Isle Royale for ten 
normal years, 1733-1743 (1741 being wanting) of its industry. 4 It shows that one 
year with another 154 vessels visited its ports, principally Louisbourg. Again a 
comparison shows how important was its trade. Only three ports of the 
populous, enterprising, and sea-faring British colonies saw more vessels come in 
from sea than those which visited this outpost in Isle Royale of French 
commercial enterprise. 

1 A minor industry was the brewing of spruce beer, the valuable antiscorbutic qualities of which made a demand for 
it not only from merchantmen, but also from men-of-war. Pichon, p. 69, says that the Acadian women chew spruce 
gum, and that it whitens their teeth and keeps them in good condition. A well-equipped brewery existed in the outskirts 
of the town. 



Lunenburg, N.S. 

Gloucester, Mass. 

Virgin Rocks, Grand Banks 




Green Bank 





9 1 







Middle Grounds 




Sable Island Bank 




Cape North 




North Bay . 

20 1 



St. Pierre Bank 




Prepared by Mr. H. C. Levatte, of Louisbourg. 

3 Marblehead's fleet declined from 120 schooners in 1732 to 70 in 1747 (Douglass, vol. i. p. 302. 
total catch of B.N.A. as 300,000 in 1747, which seems to include Newfoundland). 

4 Local fishermen and coasters are not included. 

He states the 






From France. From Canada. 

From French 
West Indie*. 

From New England ! 
and Acadia. TotaL 


70 17 


46 158 















2 3 








f 35 1 

-j 5 = Acadia V 

[30= English] 



73 '4 


42 144 


56 20 24 




** ? 

/ i 

19 22 





















Portsmouth ..... 

Xmas '47-48 121 

Newport ..... 

March 25, '47-48 56 

,, ..... 



New York ..... 

Sept. 29, '50 


Boston ...... 

Xmas '47-48 


Philadelphia ..... 

Xmas '47-48 


Salem and outports .... 


Marblehcad ..... 

Cape Anne ..... 

I Xmas '47-48 


Ipswich . . . . .1 

Ncwbury . . . . . I 

Prevost wrote on January 4, 1753, a letter dealing with the trade of Isle 
Royale, 1 which supplements the statements just quoted. Fishing, he pointed 
out, was the base of the commerce with France, the West Indies, and Canada. 
The shore fishery was carried on by residents, in fishing-boats, which did not 
go more than four or five leagues off shore. The larger boats (" batteaux ") 
and schooners went to the Scatari, Green, Sable Island, and St. Pierre banks, as well 
as to those in the gulf, although the home banks are better. 

Shore fishing was the easiest, and produced better fish, but the bank fishing 

1 C 11 , vol. 38. 


was preferred as it was easier to get men, and the schooners employed in it could 
be loaded for French ports in the autumn. 

When a quintal of fish would buy a barrel of flour or one of salt, the trade 
was on a sound basis. PreVost estimated the profits of the merchants at twenty- 
five or thirty per cent. They obtained six months credit on many French 
goods, such as those of Montauban and Beauvais, and on sailcloth, and they did 
a good trade with the French Windward Islands in their schooners. The trade 
with these islands would be much improved if their merchants were prohibited 
from sending rum to St. Eustache and the other foreign islands, for if it all came 
to Louisbourg it would greatly increase the trade of that place. The traffic in 
New England vessels was an advantage, for the old vessels in which the purchasers 
came from the southern colonies were not broken up, but were bought by the 
inhabitants for the coasting trade. 

Two causes, therefore, forced Louisbourg into being the entrep6t at which 
a distribution of commodities from various sources could be carried on. These 
were the abhorrence of the shipowner for a voyage in ballast or partly laden, the 
equal abhorrence of the trader for an adverse balance compelling payment in 
money for his purchases. 

More shipping capacity was required to export the fish of Louisbourg than 
to carry thither the imports of the place. The owners loaded the vessels to their 
capacity, and this surplus had to find an outlet. Thus Louisbourg became a 
trading centre, as it were, a clearing-house, where France, Canada, New England, 
and the West Indies mutually exchanged the commodities their vessels had 
brought, to avoid making unprofitable the round voyage, which would have 
unduly enhanced the cost of its fish. The tobacco, rum, and sugar of the West 
Indies, the cloths of Carcassone, the wines of Provence, sailcloths and linens, 
came to Louisbourg, far in excess of the possibilities of local use, and were sent 
out again. The permitted trades with Canada and the French islands could not 
absorb them, so the thrifty Acadian housewife bought from Louisbourg the few 
luxuries of her frugal life. The more prosperous New England trader, who 
supplied Louisbourg with building materials, with food, with planks and oaken 
staves, thence exported to the sugar islands, took in exchange the commodities 
of France and the rum-stuff of these islands. The towns of France furnished 
part at least of the sailcloth for his many vessels engaged in freighting and trade 
from Newfoundland to the West Indies. Much of this trade was illicit. The 
meagre returns of the commerce show this clearly. We have for 1740 the 
number of vesssels and their tonnage, as well as their declared cargoes inwards 
and outwards. The number of vessels from New England was 39, their 
aggregate tonnage 1131, their cargoes were : 

22 4 





Cows . 
Bricks, M. . 
Planks, M. . 
Sageaux Bus. 
Indian corn . 
Shingles, M. 
Pork(lbs.) . 
Pipes (gross) 
Bureaus and chest 

of drawers 
Rice (cwt.) . 
Axes . 
Pigs . 
Oxen . 
Sheep . 
Pears and apples, 

etc. (qts.). 


24 @ 50 1. 
58 15 

443 3 
2 39 

















Rum (bbls.). . 

Molasses (bbls.) 

Brandy (kegs) 

Iron (cwt.) . 



Coal (bbls.) . 

Iron for anchors (cwt.) 





& 05 1. 









2 3 








Unless the measurement of vessels has materially changed it seems obvious 
that neither inward nor outward was an adequate lading declared. Incidentally 
one may note the higher state of New England industry. The surplus of their 
fields and their handicrafts were exported. Isle Royale returned to her the 
products of other places with the exception of the trifling shipment of coal. 
The advantages of her superb situation for the fisheries, the skill and enterprise 
with which her people prosecuted them, were minimized by her unfortunate 
position as regards the sparsity of her population, the uncertainty and high cost 
of its sustenance. 

Much of this trade was done with Louisbourg, much of it through Canso, 
where so important a merchant of Boston as Faneuil l had a resident partner. 
The trade was known to the authorities, both English and French. 

This intercourse had a further development. The French bought the fish 
of the New Englanders. The intercourse for this trading begun before the war, 
continued at Martengo, the first harbour to the westward of Canso, where both 
met and exchanged their commodities untroubled by officials. It has been 
interpreted that this meant that the superior enterprise of the New England man 
enabled him to catch fish cheaper than the French. 2 A sounder view would 
seem to be that through Louisbourg was the easiest channel for him to get the 
French commodities the British provinces required, and that he found that the 

1 See p. 399. 

2 Wceden, p. 596. 


Louisbourg merchant could dispose of his fish to better advantage than he had 
found as the result of his shipments to Toulon and Marseilles. 1 

In the commercial interest of France and England is found the cause of 
complacency with which their Governments looked on this illicit trade. The 
merchants of these countries were continually in a position to point out that an 
outlet for home manufactures and other products would be lessened if the trade 
were checked, so that nothing was done in this direction. It was not the 
peculiar offence of the colonist. The impulses of commerce are ever towards 
expansion and to profits. The predominant share of outfitters in the mother 
country in these trades, the greater ease with which, as compared with the 
colonist, their influence could be brought to bear on the official, so frequently 
a sharer in mercantile ventures, made it easy to ignore laws which checked 
profitable trade. The influence of the City was potent in Westminster and 
Whitehall. When the Ohio Company embroiled France and England, its 
English shareholders prevailed on the Ministry to take a firm position, with a 
promptness which would have been wanting had its only shareholders been 
Virginian planters and merchants. A seizure of a contraband trader in Isle 
Royale touched the interests not only of the Louisbourg agent, but of his 
principal in Bordeaux, Bayonne, or Marseilles, and he, like his London confrere, 
had means of bringing influences to bear on Ministers, which led to the 
discouragement of too zealous administrators. These influences, creditable or 
the reverse, were backed by the fact that French industry or French commerce 
in a particular case would be hurt. 2 The concrete prevailed over the general 
theory, with peculiar ease, as the theory was unsound. 

This line of argument is supported by the fact that where interests of the 
French merchant'came into conflict with those of the colonist the latter suffered. 
Raudot, it may be said again, with remarkable prescience saw that if Isle Royale 
was to really flourish, it should have free trade with New England. Costebelle, 
an experienced administrator, after a little experience at Louisbourg, saw the 
necessity of this, and recommended it to the Regency (April 19, 1717) ; but he 
adds with bitterness : 

" He is persuaded that the merchants of France will always strenuously oppose it, being 
aware that the restriction (on foreign trade) will leave them always able to keep under their 
yoke like slaves the inhabitants of the colonies, whom they will sustain and support only in 
as much as their labours contribute to the profit of the commerce " (of France). 

In this he was right, for the threat of the French merchants to send no 
vessels to Isle Royale, if this were permitted, ended the matter. Had it been 

1 This New England trade with these ports was, nevertheless, very important (Weeden, p. 659). On these trades as 
well as that of Isle Royale he quotes Bollan, 118-120 (Mass. Arch. 14, p. 560, and 22, p. 21). 

2 See Appendix on illicit trading. 



proposed later when the illicit trade with New England was in full operation, 
their view would have been different; but by 1727 the question was no longer 
open. In that year the Government of Louis XV. had committed itself to pro- 
hibition of foreign trade. 

Again Bigot, who was an accomplished official, and understood the value of 
making no troublesome suggestions to an easy-going Minister, wished Isle Royale 
cod to take the place of Irish beef in the sugar islands. He spoke of it as only 
possible if it were not detrimental to the interests of the merchants of the 

The comparisons which had been made between the economic conditions of 
New England and Canada, not only in English, but by Charlevoix and other 
French writers, the assumption that in industries connected with the sea the 
English always had a marked superiority, make the conclusions as to the 
economic importance of Louisbourg surprising. We find that it was a source of 
wealth to France, that it surpassed the colonies of England engaged in the same 
trade, and that the most important in which the northern colonies of both France 
and England were engaged. 

The facts as to the trade on which this opinion is based are given later in 
this work. There is also abundant evidence that English and colonial observers 
were fully alive to a progress which excited their admiration, envy, and fear. 

Shirley's estimate is that the fisheries were worth annually a million sterling. 1 
A French writer says that the whole value of the fishing of New England is 
worth^ 1 38, ooo. 2 This is confirmed by an English writer who says that in 1759 
the French had nine hundred ships, and that the English trade was declining. 
Auchmuty, the first to get in print with a proposal to capture Isle Royale, says 
its fisheries were worth 2,000,000, confirmed again by a " Gentleman of a Large 
Trade in the City of London" (London, 1746), who says French trade is in- 
creasing, English diminishing. The English fleet outnumbered the French in 
1700 five to one, and now was less than the French, and he confirms or repeats 
Shirley's estimate of its value as a million. The writer adds with wisdom that 
Fleury contributed to this result by promoting competition with England, and 
made " war upon this Kingdom by all the arts of peace." " An Accurate 
Description of Cape Breton," 1758, speaks of Raudot's scheme for its settlement 
as "a beautiful and well-digested project," and confirms the other opinions of its 
value. "A Letter to the Right Hon. W. P." (Exon., 1758) says that if things 
had gone on as they had been, the French " would have beat us out of the Trade 
of Europe." "The Advantages of the Definite Treaty" (London, 1749) says 
that had the French not been molested, in a few years they would have totally 
ruined British foreign trade ; " as it was, they had in a manner beat us out of our 

1 C.O. 5/900, f. 212, and Appendix. a Hiit. et commerce det colonies ang!sises, Paris, 1755. 


Levant Trade, our Fishing Trade, and our Sugar Trade " ; and " A Letter from 
a Gentleman in London to his Friend in the Country" (London, 1748), in a 
eulogy of Cape Breton, says, " in no part of the world is the cod fishing carried 
on with better success." 

Every chapter of Weeden which deals with the fisheries speaks of their 
fundamental importance. Douglass (vol. i. p. 6) says : 

" The French had already the better of us in the fishery trade, and in a few years more 
would have supplied all the markets of Europe, and, by underselling, entirely excluded us 
from the cod fishery, which is more beneficial and easier wrought than the Spanish mines of 
Mexico and Peru." 

This the writers of the Memorials to Pontchartrain, 1706-9, foresaw. The 
alarmed pamphleteer in 1746, about the same time as Douglass wrote the 
above, says : 

" In that Piece the Author having observed that the English Nation is too apt to have 
a mean Opinion of the Trade and Navigation of its Rivals, especially the French, and was 
not convinced of its Mistake, 'till the Incidents of the present War, the numerous French 
Fleets, and large Prizes Open'd our Eyes ; he proceeds to shew the Steps by which the 
French [Commerce and Colonies, from being inferior to ours, have risen to a dangerous 
Superiority over us, in less than half a Century. 

"For this Purpose a Council of Commerce was established in the Year 1700. . . . 

" Since this Establishment, and in Consequence of the Memorials presented by them to 
the Royal Council, containing Propositions for Regulations and Remedies in Trade, being 
thoroughly executed, c the Trade of France has been extended to the Levant, the North 
Africa, North America, the South Seas, and to the East and West Indies, even so far as to 
make more than double the Value in Sugar, Indigo, Ginger, and Cotton, in their IVest 
India Islands than what is now made by the English, who before that Time exceeded the 
French in this Branch of Trade abundantly.' 

"In the Article of Sugar they are increased from 30,000 to 120,000 Hogsheads 
English in a Year (i.e. as 3 to 12 or I to 4). Two Thirds of which are shipped to 
Holland, Hamburgh^ Spain and other foreign Markets. 

" In the same Time the English have encreased from about 45,000 to no more than 
70,000 Hogsheads, i.e. as 9 to 14, not near double, 'of which they now send but little to 
foreign Markets, altho' they had formerly the best Share of that Trade, and even supplied 
France with Sugars.' And moreover the French have already engrossed the Indigo Trade 
from the English, and have greatly encreased in the Fisheries, and Beaver and other Fur 
Trade in North America, since their Settlement of Cape Breton, which they have fortified 
at a vast Expence ; and it is from this last mentioned Trade, and their Fisheries, that they 
find a Vent for most of their Molasses and Rum that the English do not take off 
their Hands. 

" These Advantages gain'd by the French are conspicuous from the immense Sums 
which 'They drew annually from other Countries, and which enable them to maintain 
powerful Armies, and afford such plentiful Subsidies and Pensions to several Powers and 


People in Europe : From hence they build their Ships of War, and maintain Seamen to 
supply them. 

"It is computed that they draw from two to three Millions of Pounds Sterling per 
annum from foreign Countries, in return only for Sugar, Indigo, Coffee, Ginger, Beaver 
manufactured into Hats, Salt-Fish and other American Products, and near one Million 
more from Great Britain and Ireland only, in Wool and Cash, in return for Cambricks, 
Tea, Brandy and Wine, and thereby fight us in Trade, as well as at War, with our own 
Weapons. But it is to be hoped that the Measures lately taken by the British Legislature 
to prevent the Importation of foreign Cambricks and Tea, and the taking and keeping 
of Cape Breton, will be attended with considerable national Advantages." l 

The opinions of London pamphleteers were confirmed by the soldier on 
the ground, Amherst's instructions to Whitmore, August 28, 1758 : 

"I would have the settlements in the different parts of the island absolutely destroyed, 
it may be done in a quiet way, but pray let them be entirely demolished, & for these 
reasons, that in the flourishing state this island was growing to many years wd not have 
passed before the inhabitants wd. have been sufficient to have defended it." 5 

Further and conclusive testimony is borne to the soundness of the trade 
of Louisbourg, by the fact that it was always on a specie basis. Its commerce 
never suffered from paper money, as did that of the British colonies and 
Quebec. The expression that Louisbourg was a clearing-house is further 
justified by a statement of Prevost to the effect that the New England traders 
could pass there Spanish gold and silver which was not current in the French 
West Indies. 

This consensus of opinion, 8 in addition to the returns of the trade, shows 
that Isle Royale had completely justified the memorialists who had urged its 
establishment. Nor was this trade in value, say, three million livres a year 
brought into being at an excessive price. Roughly speaking, for to analyze 
the figures contained in returns would require an expert accountant ; the 
outlay of the Government, including the cost of the fortifications, which 
was yearly about 130,000 1., was, say, ten per cent of the trade. In other 
words, had a private Company taken up Isle Royale, as was proposed before 
its settlement, and carried on its business, had such a thing been possible, even 
spending as lavishly on administration and defence as the King, it would have 
been a not unprofitable venture. There has been much exaggeration as to the 
outlay on the fortifications. Contemporary and later writers have spoken 
lightly of millions. The accounts do not indicate any large total. The 

1 ''Two Letters concerning some further Advantages and Improvements that may seem necessary to be made on the 
taking and keeping of Cape Breton " (London, 1746). It quotes "State of the British and French Trade to Africa and 
America considered," London, 1745. 2 C.O. 5/53, Amherst to Whitmore, Aug. 28, 1758. 

3 I have found no other view expressed by any writer of the period. 


memoir on this subject 1 given to the King in 1743, makes the total about 
3,500,000!., a larger amount than seems justified by the returns of the 
Treasurer. 8 

Isle Royale was not the only fishing establishment, but it was most 
important ; as an entrep6t, it as fully served its purpose as the economic 
principles of the age permitted. The course of the narrative has indicated that 
the unfavourable conditions at Louisbourg were not peculiar to that place, 
for those of Canso and Annapolis Royal were as bad as under the French 
regime. The British Government was as deaf to the appeals of its local 
officials, and as late in taking action, as was Maurepas. Newfoundland had a 
population of 4000 in 1713 and 6000 in 1755. Canso remained about 
stationary throughout this period, so that the progress of Isle Royale compares 
well with that of the two British settlements nearest to it, not only geographically, 
but in the pursuits of their people. The fisherman justified himself commercially 
at Isle Royale. His rulers made no gains in Europe to counterbalance the 
injuries to the commonwealth resulting from their neglect to safeguard his 
industry. When the victories of peace come to be as highly esteemed as 
those of war, the French historian, who then writes of the colonial development 
of his country under the Bourbon kings, will have more pride than our con- 
temporaries in writing of Isle Royale. He can then point out that the 
American colonies of his country were lost, by her rival, beaten in the arts 
of peaceful development, wresting them with a strong hand from the govern- 
ment of his ancestors incapable in the last resort to force of defending possessions 
so valuable. 

After this digression, it seems desirable to touch on the human side 
of life in the little town before narrating the culminating incident of its 

The increase in its garrison overcrowded it, and pushed settlements of 
others than farmers out into the environs. 8 

Under ordinary circumstances such increase of the population would have 
raised prices. When the effect of a heightened demand was increased, through 
a diminished supply, the aggravation of the economic position was extreme. 
Important sources of supply were cut off" by the embargo on exportation from 
the British Colonies, the active efforts of Cornwallis to stop any supply from 
Nova Scotia, and the captures of vessels by the blockading fleets. 

1 C 11 , L.R. vol. 26, f. 219. 

8 There are two sources of information on this subject, besides occasional references in the general correspondence, 
Arch. Col. Amerique du Nord Isle Royale, vols. 8 and n, and Arch. Marine G, vols. 52, 53, and 54; the latter gives 
a short annual statement from 1733, of various statistics about the colony. 

8 Chassin de Thierry, Senior Captain of the garrison, lived about five miles from town on the Mir6 Road 
(Dcrniers Jours, etc. p. 215). 

230 A MEAGRE WAY OF LIFE 1749-1758 

It was at best of times a community with little money ; military salaries 
were low, as were those of other officials. 1 

This involved a meagre life, occasionally relieved by a place at the table 
of the more fortunate. Drucour recounts the following incident in a letter 
to Surlaville: 2 " Mme. de la Boularderie has just dined here; we drank your 
health, and she told us you made her so merry that she saw eight candles 
instead of one ; we did not carry things as far." 

Johnstone was delighted to have permission to embark ten or twelve 
days before the vessel sailed on a voyage to France, " in order to repair the 
bad fare which I had during a year at Louisbourg, which ordinarily consisted 
during the winter solely of cod-fish and hog's lard, and during the summer, 
fresh fish, bad salt rancid butter, and bad oil." 

Captain Hale wrote after being in Louisbourg with a flag of truce in 1756 : 

" I assure you fish dressed in various ways makes up a great part of their entertainment " 
(Ad. Des. i, 481). 

M. Joubert writes in January, 1757 : 

" II n'y a rien de nouveau ycy depuis mes dernieres ; nous sommes tous r^duits a 
la sapinette (spruce beer) . . ." 4 

The cuisine of Louisbourg had other resources than cod : Johnstone's 

"an excellent Jack of all trades, expert for furnishing my table, bringing generally 
eight or ten dozen of trouts, in two hours' fishing with the line, the streams in the 
neighbourhood being very full of fish." 5 

The prevalence of gambling circumscribed the opportunities of the poorest 
of the officers for going into society. Des Bourbes writes : 

" I am a useless member of a society where there is nothing but gambling, I am not 
in demand as I do not wish to play, and cannot do so. I go out only to pay my respects, 
and find gaming tables everywhere ; I watch the players for a second or two ; I sit 
in an armchair out of decency and this politeness on my part is most boring . . ." 6 

Johnstone found : 

". . . the society of the ladies of the place very amiable, but having always cards 
in their hands, my avocations would not permit of me daily to make one of their parties . . ." 7 

1 Captains, loSo 1. ; lieutenant, 720!.; enaeigne en pied, 480!.; cnscigne en second, 360!. So hard was the 
position of the junior officers that after 1754 a bonus of 6000 1. annually was divided among the lieutenants and 
ensigns. The Governor's salary was 9000 1., with a bonus of 6000 1. Surlaville says the Governor's position in salary, 
bonus, and allowance was worth 19,800!., and that the nominal salary of the Commissaire-Ordonnateur of 2400!. was 
raised in the same way to 6000 1. Compared with similar positions to-day these emoluments were not inconsiderable, 
but in all the subaltern positions the pay was small, and was eked out by frugality or commercial ventures. 

J See Demurs yours, etc. p. 128. 3 Memoirs of the Chevalier Johmtone, vol. ii. p. 172. 

4 Dernien Jourt, etc. p. 213. 5 Memoirs, etc. vol. ii. p. 179. 

* Dernieri yours, etc. p. 182. 1 Memoirs, etc. vol. ii. p. 178. 


Both he and Des Bourbes speak with thankfulness of a taste for study which 
lightened the dreariness of their narrow life. Others had less innocent 
pastimes. Duels were not infrequent, and we have one instance of the 
misery caused by jealousy in the suicide of the unfortunate Montalembert. 
He was driven to distraction by the liaison of his wife with one of the officers 
of Bourgogne, whom even at the time of her marriage she preferred to the 
elderly husband chosen by her mother. 1 

The rivalries and jealousies between different factions in the service 
were many. Few towns could have had more. There was the common one 
of antagonism between the gens de I'epJe and the gens de la plume, 
the military and civil orders of the administration, mitigated in this case by 
the ascendency Prevost had gained over Drucour. 

There was the antagonism not only between the army and the navy, 
but also between naval officers serving afloat and on shore. The old Companies 
officers had grievances against those of the Companies raised in 1749. All 
these were on indifferent or hostile terms with the officers of Canada, who 
were occasionally transferred from Beausejour to Louisbourg ; while Artois 
and Bourgogne aroused in the breasts of the ordinary garrison those feelings 
which it seems the fate of regular troops of all countries to excite among 
their colonial fellows ; while all of them were agreed in thinking the honours paid 
to Franquet were excessive. 

At Louisbourg this jealousy produced its evil effects ; Du Caubet, an 
officer of the Louisbourg garrison, was detached for service at Beausejour. 
There he met the Langis brothers, officers of Canada, and a quarrel broke 
out. It reached, at Louisbourg, where they had both returned, its fatal 
end. One evening Du Caubet was found in his quarters dead from many 
barbarous wounds. It was an open secret that the elder Langis was the 
instigator of the deed. An inquiry was held, but led to nothing, and 
Langis escaped punishment. Pichon looked on this as significant, for he 
says, " The colonial officer would like to do as much to the last of the French 
officers." 2 

It was Prevost, however, who drew down on himself the most universal 
dislike. Such was the fate of the Intendant or his equivalent the Com- 
missaire-Ordonnateur in most colonies, unless he were a man of rare tact 
and judgment. This Prevost was not. Neither Des Herbiers nor Raymond 
approved of him, but on the other hand he succeeded in making himself 
indispensable to Drucour. On one side there are incidents to show that 
Prevost was a man of independence. He refused, for example, to assist in 

1 See Derniers Jours, etc. pp. 149, 214. 
2 "L'Officier colon voudroit en faire autant au dernier des officiers de France " (Derniers Jourt, etc. p. 131). 

232 PREVOST 1749-1758 

carrying out the categorical orders of La Jonquiere to seize English vessels in 
the Port of Louisbourg ; and his correspondence with the Minister is that of 
a man of parts. 

On the other hand, there are incidents which show that he was small 
and vindictive, perhaps to a greater extent than might be expected from 
any man of low birth and unattractive manners, occupying a position which 
gave him power to retaliate for the annoyances and indignities inflicted on 
him by his social superiors. He tells himself of the humiliations to which 
he was subjected on his official visit to De BaufFremont's ship. De Bauffrcmont 
was absent, but his officers were of the same opinion as their commander, who 
" always treated him (Prevost) as the last of miscreants." The officers of 
the colonial troops, as well as those of Artois and Bourgogne, also sent him 
to Coventry and refused his invitations. 

Johnstone relates one striking instance of his insubordination : 

"When the English fleet appeared before Louisbourg in 1757, all the troops marched 
out upon the instant to man the intrenchments ... in order to oppose their landing, 
and . . . our surgeon-general having given M. St. Julien a recipe for a sling, some 
spirits, and other things necessary for dressing wounds. Provost replied to M. St. Julien, 
commandant by seniority of all our troops, that * there was nothing at all in the King's 
magazines, that if the English forced our entrenchments, it would fall to them to take 
care of our wounded, and if we repulsed them, they would have to look after them.' M. 
St. Julien reported immediately the affair with his complaints to M. Bois de la Motte, 
who at the instant landed at nine o'clock at night, proceeded directly to Prevost's house, 
and having threatened to set it on fire, and to send him back to France, if everything 
which the store contained was not ready by the next day, in the morning, all was 
furnished, to the great disappointment of this inhuman monster, who wished from his 
hatred to all the officers, to make these brave people perish for want of assistance, 
and he wept through rage." 1 

Nevertheless, he managed to have some friends, partly owing to the chance 
of his having married on February 14, 1745, a very attractive demoiselle 
Marie Therese Carrerot, the daughter of one of the principal merchants of 
the place. The power of conferring benefits gave him some allies and associates. 
Their sentiments find expression in a madrigal, the joint efforts of the Pere 
Alexis of the Freres de la Charite, and M. Beaudeduit, one of the Conseil 
Superieur. The poem was presented to him at an entertainment in his house, 
and goes as follows : 

A la paix toujours tranquille 
Prcvost donne un sure asile. 
Qu'il est doux de vivrc sous ces loix ! 
Les plaisirs renaisscnt a sa voix. 

1 See Memoirt cf the Chevalier Jthnstone, vol. ii. p. 181, note. 

1755-1758 DRUCOUR 233 

Provost veut tout obeir ; 
La paix vient, le trouble fuit ; 
Sous luy Ton voit la justice 
Triompher de 1'artifice. 1 

The most striking figure in Louisbourg at this time, even by standards 
other than that of official position, was the Chevalier de Drucour, its Governor, 
a younger son of a noble Norman family, who entered the service in 1719. 
His career was successful ; while still a lieutenant he was appointed Lieutenant 
of the Gardes de la Marine (Midshipmen) at Brest, and later Commandant of 
that corps, a responsible position, for which he was selected without personal 
solicitation, on account of his wisdom and good conduct. In discharging the 
social duties of this position by entertaining the young noblemen under his 
charge, he exhausted not only his salary and income, but seriously cut into his 
patrimony, which he completely exhausted in the expenses incident to taking 
up the Governorship of Louisbourg. He further involved his affairs by 
obtaining advances from his brother, the Baron de Drucour, and the expenses 
of his administration left him penniless. It is obvious from this conduct of his 
affairs that Drucour was one of those nobles who preferred to maintain the 
dignity of any position to which his sovereign had called him, rather than 
exercise a reasonable regard for his private interests. He even did this with a 
liberality which seems unnecessary, for in rearranging the canteens he abandoned 
to the Majors of the place that share of the profits which had been the perquisite 
of every preceding Governor. 2 

In the arrangements he made, he went contrary to the opinion of the 
Company officers, but neither this nor any other of his acts gave rise to any 
criticism excepting that PreVost had gained an undue ascendency over him, and 
that his judgment of men was not discriminating. No one writes of him except 
in praise, and his good sense and firmness are more than once spoken of. The 
one personal letter we have from his hand is that of a pleasant and capable 
writer, who speaks of his difficulties without discouragement or vexation. 

Madame Drucour, a daughter of the Courserac family which had given 
many officers to the French navy, did her part in making his regime popular. 
She was a woman of intelligence, gracious towards every one, and succeeded in 
making Government House extremely attractive. 

Later events show that, in addition, she was a woman of rare heroism and 

1 His Etats de Service shows that, notwithstanding the dislike of his associates, he had the confidence of successive 
Ministers, and received promotions. It also shows the hardships to which an officer was exposed in the Colonial Service 
in those days. It was not until 1763 that there was any effective examination of his conduct. In consequence of the 
trial of de la Borde, treasurer of 1'Isle Royale, Prevost, by order of April 18, was arrested, and taken to the Bastille 
(Marine B, vol. 117). On the loth April 1764 he was set at liberty, but was never again to be employed in any 
position of confidence (Marine B, vol. 120). 

2 The right to sell to the troops brought in about 3000 1. to the Governor (Papiers Surlaville). 


a devoted wife. It may be noted, in passing, that the first and last Governors 
of Louisbourg both married widows, were splendidly mated, and left them in 
extreme poverty. Madame de Drucour was the widow of a Savigny. She 
received a pension of loool., but died only a few weeks after her husband, 
about the time, October 1763, it was granted. In granting the pension, 
Drucour's character was recognised. He " s'etoit comporte dans cette place 
avec la plus grande desinteressement et la plus grande probite." The authorities 
therefore believed him when he wrote in 1757 : 

"J'aurai 1'exemple d'un seulgouverneurqui aura mang^son bien au lieudel'augmenter." 1 

Drucour's government was a time of continuous trial. In the first few 
months he was embarrassed by the multitude of promises which Raymond had 
made before leaving. But these embarrassments and the ordinary trials of the 
head of a community, with such clashing interests as that of Louisbourg, were 
trifling compared with the difficulties which confronted him in the succeeding 
years. He had no control over the fortifications, the condition of which was 
unsatisfactory, owing to the Jack of activity of Franquet, and the sufficient 
supply of men, materials, and money for their repair. The finances were not in 
his charge, and part of the inadequate supply of funds was stolen by La Borde, 
the Treasurer. 

The garrison was too small. He pointed out the necessity for its increase, 
proposing that the companies be increased to 70 men each, and eight more 
added ; he emphasised the advantage of this course by pointing out that the 
colonial troops of 104 officers and 2446 men, the force he proposed for the 
establishment, would cost annually 166,325!., whereas 164 officers and 1050 
men of regular troops, like those of Artois and Bourgogne, would require an 
annual expenditure of 250,109 1. 

But more insistent than the necessity of making the place effective as 
the guard of French supremacy in America, were the claims of subsistence 
for its garrison and its people. Each year the port was blockaded, each year 
its supplies were curtailed, and in 1757, after a winter in which not a family 
had an ounce of flour in the house, a winter so protracted that there remained 
eighteen inches of snow on the ground on the I2th of May, there was cause 
for the greatest anxiety. In June a vessel arrived which relieved the tension, 
but it was not until January 6, although Du Bois de la Motte had left all the 
spare provisions from his ships, that they felt assured of sufficient food for 
the winter. Doloboratz arrived with a cargo of provisions from France on 
that date, far later than had been thought possible to navigate these seas 
(Johnstone). The people and the garrison believed during the greater part 

1 A.N. Marine C 1 , vol. 489. 

1755-1758 HIS THWARTED PLANS 235 

of this time that the Royal storehouses contained provisions for two years, 
a tribute to the firmness and tact of Drucour and Prevost. It is equally to 
Drucour's praise that during the blockade of Holburne he had kept in touch 
with Halifax. His scouts, notably Gautier, haunted the outskirts of the 
English settlement, occasionally making captures, sometimes bringing with them 
a willing deserter, at other times returning empty-handed. This information 
he passed on, and, in addition, he promised the Government that he would 
destroy the new buildings at Halifax if provisions arrived by the middle of 
November. They did not arrive, and the project fell through. In this 
discouraging condition, but undismayed, Drucour awaited an attack which 
he knew was inevitable. 1 

1 Le Loutre's Indians, who flocked to Pile Royale after the fall of Beausejour, where they had been so bountifully 
supplied, were a source of trouble, and an additional drain on the inadequate store of provisions at Drucour's disposal. 
He speaks several times of their misery. He intended to use them and the Acadians in the foray against Halifax. 
Boishebert had been in command of this force (280 men) which had remained in Port Toulouse all summer. 


THE war had been, so far, barren of results satisfactory to the English people. 
It had yielded only a succession of failures or defeats. Pitt described the 
operations of 1757 as " the last inactive and unhappy Campaign," and prepared 
" for the most vigorous and extensive Efforts to avert by the Blessing of God 
on His Arms, the Dangers impending in North America." 1 
On the same day he wrote to Loudon : 

"My Lord, I am with concern to acquaint Your Lordship that the King has judged 
proper that Your Lordship should return to England." 2 

Loudon was superseded by Abercromby, to whom Pitt addressed a long, 
masterly and lucid statement of his plans for I758. 3 

The reduction of Louisbourg was their first objective, and lavish prepara- 
tions were made for its success. Engineers were ordered to Halifax to prepare 
siege material, and in his first letter to Abercromby Pitt said that the supplies 
gathered for Loudon were to be cared for and held in readiness. Troops and 
ships were to be concentrated at Halifax, so that the siege of Louisbourg might 
begin as early in the year " as the Twentieth of April, if the season should 
happen to permit. 4 Abercromby was to apply himself to other operations. 

Fourteen thousand troops, the greater part regulars, were provided, and 
a General officer appointed for the command. Colonel Jeffrey Amherst, then 
serving in Germany, was selected and promoted to the rank of Major-General. 5 
Amherst's brigadiers were Whitmore, Lawrence, and Wolfe. Boscawen was 
given command of the fleet, which was a force of twenty-three ships of the 
line, from which Boscawen had to provide convoys for the transports. 6 Hardy, 
Boscawen's second in command, had preceded him to take up the blockade 
of Louisbourg with eight ships of the line and two frigates. He arrived at 
Halifax on March 19, and left there on April 5 ; but the first time the French 

1 Dec. 30, 1757. Pitt to Governors of the Northern Colonies (Kimball, vol. i. p. 136 from C.O. 5/212). 

a Kimball, vol. i. p. 143 from C.O. 5/212. * Kimball, vol. i. p. 143 from C.O. 5/212. 

4 Orders were given to rendezvous at Halifax, not later than April 12. 

8 600 Rangers were to be sent, but the number of Regulars was not to fall below that planned, Dec. 30, 1757. 

8 His Instructions arc in Ad. O. and I., vol. 80. 



note his appearance so close to the town that his force could be counted was 
on April 28, although early in the month his ships had been sighted off Scatari. 
The safe arrival of French ships, hereafter stated, shows that his blockade, like 
most, was not effective. He sent into Halifax, however, as captures the 
Diane, 22, a frigate "full of Provisions, Cloathing and Arms," and four other 
provision ships. 

Boscawen's voyage was extremely slow. He was clear of the Channel 
on February 24, but did not arrive in Halifax until May I2. 1 

The forces had not all arrived, and Amherst was still at sea. Boscawen 
and Whitmore had received instructions for preliminary steps to be taken in 
the event of such delay as had occurred. They were to land on Cape Breton, 
either at Gabarus Bay or at Mira. 2 But before this could be attempted, 
preparations were complete. The fleet and forces straggled into Halifax a 
month behind Pitt's appointed time. 

The account of an eye-witness, 3 who regretted not to have been appointed 
to serve on the expedition, gives a livelier account of these days in Halifax 
than a transcript of diverse official documents. 

May 30/A, 1758. 

"MY DEAR LORD ... In my letter to your Lordship from Boston dated in March 
I informed you of what was at that time transacting on this Continent and of my motives 
for proceeding to Halifax, and I cannot say that I repent of the Voyage I made ; I must own 
I was a good deal mortified that my situation obliged me to quit a service I was so deeply 
interested in, and in which some intimate friends of mine have so great a share ; both my 
gratitude to General Abercromby in appointing me his Aid de Camp, and obedience to your 
Lordship's intentions, that I should serve with him, soon determined what part to take. 

" April iyd. I imbarked with General Lawrence, his Battalion and Frazers at Boston. 

"28^. We arrived at Halifax where we found that from the I5th to that day the 
Prince Frederick and Juno, Transports with Amherst's Regiments on board, and some 
Ordinance Store Ships, had arrived from England. The Prince Frederick had lost her masts 
in a gale of Wind, and had replaced them from the Le Arc en Ceil [sic] of 50 Guns which 
lay at Halifax. One transport had sprung a leak at Sea, was lost, but the Troops saved. 
We found the Royal 4Oth, 45th and 47th Regiments that wintered at Halifax, employed in 
making Fascines and Gabiens, etc., and 90 Carpenters that had been sent from New England 
employed under the direction of Colonel Basteed, in making six Block Houses of Squared 
Timber, upon the upper part of which a Platform is made for small Cannon, with a Parapet 

1 Wolfe gives, in a letter to Lord George Sackville, an account of the voyage (Ninth Report, Hist. MSS. Com. 

P- 74)- 

2 C.O. 5/213. In the preparation of these instructions to his commanders, Pitt had before him a communication 
from Brigadier Waldo, second in command to Pepperrell in the siege of 1745. Waldo recommended the attack, actually 
carried out by Amherst. The document is to be found in R.O. Secret and Miscellaneous Papers, 1756-61, and has been 
reprinted in Can. Archives Reports, 1886. 

3 James Cunningham on Abercromby's staff, letter to Lord Sackville. 


Musquct proof, and underneath Musquetry may likewise be used through loop holes. The 
Timbers are marked, and the edifice may be constructed in a few hours. They will answer 
the end Ridouts for the protection of the Camp. They were likewise employed in making 
a sort of Sling Cart, with wheels Eight Feet high, of a great breadth to transport Cannon 
over Marshy Ground, this at Mr. Boscawen's request. The Troops remained on board the 
Transports and were extremely healthy. 

"At this time General Hopson was Ignorant of his destination, and Continued to 
command. It was determined to send to Boston for fifty Horses and fourty Yoke of Oxen 
to adjust [sic] in drawing Artillery Horses, etc., at the Siege. 

" March igth. Sir Charles Hardy arrived in the Captain from England, and found the 
Squadron that had Wintered at Halifax in great forwardness. 

" April 5//;. Sir Charles sailed to cruize off Louisburg with the following ships. 
Northumberland 74 Summerset "O Terrible 74/ Orford JO/ Deffence 6o/ Captain 6^./ Kingston 
6o/ Southerland 5O/ and one Frigate. Sir Charles sent into Halifax Four Provision Ships 
taken off Louisburg. 

" 30//;. He sent in a French Frigate of 22 guns, called the Diana. She sailed from 
Rochfort in Company with the Prudent of 70 Guns and another Frigate that are supposed 
to have got into Louisburg. 

" May 2nd. She was full of Provisions, Cloathing and Arms. 

" The Juno Frigate sailed to join Sir Charles Squadron, and the same day the Trent 
Frigate that had been separated ten days from Mr. Boscawen's Fleet off the Island of 
Barmudas, arrived. 

"8M. A Fleet was seen to the Eastward of the Harbour. 

" 9//J. Admiral Boscawen arrived with the following Ships. Namur go/ Princess Emelia 
8o/ Royal IVilllam 84/ Burford jo/ Pembroke 6o/ Lancaster 68/ Prince of Orange 6o/ Bedford 
&4/ Nottingham 6o/ Shannon Frigate, Etna and Tylo Fire Ships. 

" The same day arrived the 35th/ 48th/ and Monckton's Battn. of R. As/ under Convoy 
of a 20 Gun Ship from Philadelphia. 

" The whole Fleet immediately on their arrival begun to take in Water and clean the 
ships all healthy, except the Pembroke and Devonshire. 

" 12th. Arrived Captain Rouse in the Sutherland of 50 Guns from the Squadron off 
Louisburg. Sir Charles says in a letter of the 8th of May, that after a Storm of Snow which 
Continued thirty-six hours, upon its clearing up, he perceived several Ships within him, near 
to the Harbour, to which he gave chase, but they escaped him. Soon after he stood into 
the Harbour, and perceived Seven Ships at Anchore, three of which he imagined were of 
war. In Chaberouse Bay they perceived the enemy throwing up an Intrenchment. 

" I3//J. Sailed the Beaver to Piscatua for Masts. Sir Charles's Squadron seems to have 
Cruized off Louisburg as Early as the Season would permit. The cold was extremely severe, 
and the Ice floating very troublesome. They saw a French ship catched in it, which they 
could not reach, &: some of his Squadron at times stuck fast. 1 

" i^th. Sailed the Squirrell and on the I4th the Scarborough to join the Fleet. 

" ibth. Arrived Commodore Durrell from New York, with the Devonshire of 66 Guns, 
the Ludlow Castle of 40, and three Frigates, with Brigadier General Whitmore the I7th/ 
and 22nd/ Regiments, all the Artillery and Stores intended for the Siege of Louisburg last 

1 The Magnifijut j see p. 244. 


year, except some Howitzers kept by General Abercromby Three Companys of Artillery, 
Thirty-two empty Transports and Victuallers. Those empty Transports were provided at 
home for the Troops to be imbarked at New York, but General Abercromby that no time 
might be lost had imbarked his Troops from different places ordering them to proceed to 
the place of Randesvouse in Separate divisions. And when your Lordship considers, that 
the orders for this Imbarkation did not reach General Abercromby before the nth March, 
Great dispatch must have been used, to mark [sic'] the Troops from these Cantonments about 
Albany and elsewhere, to have them imbarked, and the last of them at the place of randes- 
vouse by the i6th of May. All the Transports from the Continent are Victualled for four 
months. They will find full employment for the empty Transports to carry Fascines, etc. 

" ijth. Arrived the Centurion of 60 Guns from Plymouth, and informed us that General 
Amherst was to Imbark in the Dublin which was to replace the Invincibly want of canvass 
prevented the Centurion from proceeding with Admiral Boscawen from Plymouth. The 
same day arrived the York Man-of-War of 64 Guns, and Anstruther's Regiment which are 
sickly. The York in her passage ran foul of the America^ lost her head, and carried away 
the Masts of the America. 

" 2Oth. Royal William and Prince Frederick sailed to join Sir Charles Hardy's Squadron. 
The same day the Massachusetts Province Ship, 20 Guns, brought in three Prizes, two of 
which were bound to Louisburg with provisions. 

" 2ist. Brigadier Lawrence received a letter from Admiral Boscawen, acquainting him 
that he should be ready to sail on the 23rd May, no objection occurring it was determined, 
but calm thick weather and Contrary winds prevented them. 

" A Body of Rangers were formed consisting of 1 100 from Detachments of the several 
Corps and 500 were sent from New England, all under the Command of Captain Scott of 
the yoth Regiment, who has been accustomed to that service. Their Clothes are cut 
short, & they have exchanged their heavy Arms, for the light fusils of the Additional 
Companies of Erasers that are left at Halifax. This body of Troops will be of excellent 
service in protecting There Camp from the Insults of the Indians. The Company of 
Carpenters consisting of 90 men will be extremely useful as they have been accustomed to 
the drawing of Masts. 

" During the recess there stay at Halifax afforded them, the Generals did not fail to 
accustom the Troops to what they were soon to encounter. Some Military operations 
were dayly carried on. They frequently landed in the boats of the Transports and practised 
in the Woods, the different Manuvres they were likely to act on the Island of Cape 
Breton. In all these operations you may imagine that Gen. Wolfe was remarkably active. 
The Scene afforded Scope for his Military Genius. We found it possible to land 3500 
Men in the Boats belonging to Transports, and when the Boats from the Men of War 
assisted, 5000 Men could be landed. 

" To facilitate the landing at Chaberus Bay the following Scheme was that they seemed 
inclined to put in execution, and which the following scetch of the Coast will explain. It 
was proposed to detach Brigadier-Genl. Wolfe with the ifth/ 48th/ Eraser's Battn. of 
Highlanders & noo Rangers, to perfect a landing at Miray Bay, 15 miles from Chaberus 
Bay, and to force his march thro' the Woods along the road, against whatever might 
oppose him, making short marches in case of opposition, & securing his Camp every night 
in the best manner. 


" Colonel Monckton to be detached, to perfect a landing with two Battalions at Grand 
Lorcm Beck, and to secure his small force with an Intrenchment. 

" The rest of the force under cover of the Cannon of the Ships, to land at Chaberus 
Bay, but I suppose they will delay making that attempt, should any formidable force 
oppose them, untill the other two Bodys of Troops can co-operate, in making a diversion 
in their favour. 

" Your Lordship doubtless knows that General Whitmore was directed from Home to 
Command in Nova Scotia, & to detach General Lawrence, in case General Amherst did 
not arrive in time, to proceed in the operations of the Siege. 

" 28M. The wind coming fair in the night, the Admiral made the Signal to 
unmore at daylight, at seven she weighed, and the whole Fleet were under Sail at Eight 
O'clock, little Wind, including the whole they amounted to 180 Sail. The Pembroke 
having: 200 Men sick, the Devonshire sickly. The U Arc en Cell whose Masts were taken 
to refit the Prince Frederick were left at Halifax with orders to join the Fleet when in 
a proper condition, from hence you will find that Mr. Boscawen sailed from Halifax with 
Twenty-one Sail of the line, & fourteen Frigates. I mean when he joins Sir Charles, his 
Fleet will amount to that number. He was fortunate in meeting with a fair Wind, & 
clear Weather for three Days together, which must have afforded them an opportunity of 
surveying the Coast, & making their disposition. 

" The inclosed return will show you the effective strength of the Troops on the 
expedition, & those left at Nova Scotia, & I dare say that you must approve of General 
Abercromby's doing everything in his power, to forward the service, in many things at 
the expence of that he is himself to Conduct. 

" It is impossible for me to express to your Lordship, the harmony, Spirit, and 
confidence, that reigns universally thro' the Army and Navy. I parted with my friends 
General Lawrence, Gen. Wolfe and the Admiral on board the Namur when they were 
under Sail, and I cannot say but that I earnestly wished that I had been destined for that 
service. I imbarked on board the Ludlow Castle of 40 Guns with General Hopson, 
we cleared the Harbour before the Fleet. We met the Dublin, and saw her join the 
Fleet. I suppose that General Amherst was on board. I esteem myself unfortunate in 
not meeting him before my departure, as he possibly might have dispatches for General 

" As the Enemy will certainly exert the whole Regular Canadian and Indian Force of 
Canada against General Abercromby so soon as they are at a certainty of our design 
against Louisburg, I cannot persuade myself that he will be able to act offensively against 
the enemy unless a diversion is immediately made up the River St. Lawrence, which may 
oblige the Enemy to divide their force. I had several opportunities of urging this point 
to Admiral Boscawen, and he desired me to inform General Abercromby that he proposed 
sending some Men of War and Troops up the River St. Lawrence to make a diversion the 
moment that he was persuaded that he could spare them. We all have the utmost 
confidence in Admiral Boscawen's zeal and activity in the service and when we heard that 
he was to command the Fleet we assured ourselves that the Campaign would be vigorous 
& Active. The unanimity that presides at Home seems to defuse itself abroad, whereas of 
late we have been a divided and distrustful people. A successful Campaign will I hope 
give Peace to America. Without it I fear the Country will be exhausted and provisions 


for the supply of a large Army must grow scarce from so many hands being employed in 
the Field. 

"Capt. Boyer who lately got a ^10,000 Ticket has promised me to deliver this letter 
to your Lordship, he is a particular friend of mine. I am, my dear Lord, Your faithful 
servant, JAS. CuNiNGHAME." 1 

Wolfe, who landed at Halifax from the Princess Amelia on May 8, 
was eager and dissatisfied. He thought the troops were too few, as deaths, 
wounds, sickness, and a necessary garrison would take up three thousand men, 
and suggested reinforcements. He spoke well of the Highland regiments, 
both officers and men, then beginning their glorious service in the British 
Army. " The Highlanders are very useful serviceable soldiers, and commanded 
by the most manly corps of officers I ever saw. 2 The Rangers he described as 
" little better than la canaille.'" 3 

He had a poor opinion of the Americans as soldiers. 

"The Americans are in general the dirtiest, most contemptible cowardly dogs that you 
can conceive. There is no depending upon 'em in action. They fall down dead in their 
own dirt and desert by battalions, officers and all. Such rascals as those are rather an 
incumbrance than any real strength to an army." 4 

But these strictures were but little more severe than those he wrote about 
the regulars, who, like the Rangers, as the event proved, so willingly and 
successfully followed his leadership. Of their spirit he had no doubt, but 
otherwise they fell far below his standard. " Too much money and too much 
rum necessarily affect the discipline of an army." " I believe no nation ever 
paid so many bad soldiers at so high a rate." 

The siege supplies were inadequate in important respects ; the muskets were 
in poor condition. 

"We ought to have had a dozen of the largest sort (Howitzers) for this business. I 
am told too, that his Excellency had a great mind to keep the tools, in which case there 
was an end of the siege of Louisbourg altogether, and I believe it will now be found that 
we have not one pick axe too many. 

"Our Cloaths, our arms and accoutrements, nay even our shoes and stockings, are all 
improper for this country. . . . The army is undone and ruin'd by the constant use of 
salt meat and rum ... so your lordship may rest assured that the enterprize of Louisbourg 
will cost a multitude of men." 5 

Although Wolfe was dissatisfied with the forces gathered at Halifax, Pitt 
had nevertheless placed at the disposal of the commanders a powerful armament. 

1 I owe the full text of this letter and the map, not reproduced, to the kindness of Colonel Stopford Sackville of 
Drayton House. A few lines of it are quoted in Ninth Report Hist. MSS. Com. p. 75. 

2 Ninth Report Hist. MSS. Com, p. 74. * Ibid. 4 Ibid. p. 77. 

5 The above quotations are all from Wolfe's letters to Lord Sackville (Ninth Report Hist. MSS. Com. pp. 74 to 77). 



On the naval side it was made up of 23 men-of-war and 16 smaller vessels, 
mounting 1842 guns, and carrying crews of 14,005 men. 

The land forces consisted of 13,142 men and officers. Lord Ligonier had 
responded to the call of Pitt, in a lavish supply of munitions of war. 

Detailed statements of the forces and supplies are printed later, in which 
will also be found the quantities used, which show that Wolfe's fears were 
groundless ; as well as for purposes of comparison, the resources in men and 
ships of the French. 

On Monday, May 29, the advance was begun. 1 At dawn the signal to 
unmoor was given from the Namur. At nine the fleet was under way, and 
saluted with seventeen guns by the little citadel, was passing out of the harbour. 
The breeze was so light at 10.30 that the ships' boats towed them out, and by 
the afternoon they were still off Cape Sambro. Even at the last it was augmented. 
The vessels carrying Bragg's, and some detachments from the Bay of Fundy 
and the new settlement of Lunenburg, joined the fleet and continued with it. 
The Dublin came in from sea, transferred Amherst to the Namur, and went on 
into the harbour, as her crew was sickly. 2 

With varying but not unfavourable weather, the fleet tacked along the 
coast of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton. When the weather cleared, on Friday, 
June 2, Boscawen saw Louisbourg, and with light airs came slowly to his chosen 
anchorage in Gabarus Bay, which he reached about four that afternoon. He 
was followed that evening and the next day by the rest of the fleet. As they 
passed in, Amherst and his men saw rise above the circumvallation the slender 
spires of the principal buildings, and beyond them the slenderer masts of the 
ships in the harbour. 

The position taken by Boscawen was dangerous. His principal ships were 
anchored about the middle of Gabarus Bay, six miles from the entrance of 
Louisbourg harbour, and little over two from the shallow water at the head of 
the bay. 3 As happens yearly at this season, there was much fog, and the 
prevailing winds were easterly, so that ships leaving the harbour could have run 
down on the anchored enemy crowded in a bay with a lee shore close aboard. 
On Sunday, Boscawen's account of conditions is as follows : 

"At 4 A.M. it was little wind with a thick haze, the Kennington and Halifax still 
continue firing. At 5 the breeze began to freshen and it came on foggy. ... At 8 the 
gale increased, got down topgallant yards and the Sheat Anchor over the side, and at noon 

1 The time in naval records of the period wa from noon to noon. Thus Boscawen say ''at 4.30 A.M., Sunday, 
May 28," where Gordon says " Monday, May 29." May 28 is, in the former case, from Sunday at noon to noon on the 
Monday, 29th. The dates in the text follow the reckoning of landsmen. 

a The Gramnint was dispatched to reconnoitre G.ibarus Bay, and discover the best landing-place ; the Kenningta* 
and a transport arrived from sea. The number of transports reported by Boscawen is 127. 

1 Their position is indicated on the map, p. 243, from data furnished by the chief Hydrographer of the Navy. 

List of Ships 

(l.) Namur 

(2.) Princess Amelia 

(3.) Burford 

(4.) Bedford 

(5-) Lancaster 

(6.) Princess Frederick 
(7.) Prince of Orange 
(8.) York 
(9.) Nottingham 
(10.) Sutherland 


English Statute Miles 
? ? 3 

Scale of Latitude and Distance 
9 I 2 

Position of 

JUNE 5th.-7tfa. 1758. 










To face page 242. 


struck yards and topmasts." Although the weather fell lighter in the afternoon, it was not 
until 5 the next morning that they " got up topmasts and Yards." 

The Kennington and other frigates, with the sloop Halifax, ranged on 
shore close to the French batteries with which they were engaged, had to be 
towed by the ship's boats into deeper water. The Trent took the ground, but 
was got off with a damaged rudder. " It looked," says Gordon, " as if many 
vessels would go ashore and many suffered the loss of anchor and cables." 

It would appear that the disposition of the British fleet was the least 
favourable for defence. Its first line, the frigates, were dragging ashore under 
the fire of the batteries, while the battleships, to leeward of the transports, were 
dismantled, and incapable of speedily protecting these ships on which were the 
troops and warlike stores. The conditions were most favourable for attack. 
Fog at times hung over all to obscure movements of the French, who had a 
wind favouring them, strong enough to produce disorder among the British, 
but, as it was not so heavy as to prevent the working of the fleet's boats, it was 
favourable .to the manoeuvring of the French ships. The easterly winds were 
against any assistance coming from Hardy and his ships. Everything was 
prepared for a disaster, which would have stood out in naval annals with 
Quiberon and La Hogue, had the French grasped the overwhelming value, at 
critical moments, of an aggressive defence. 1 

The French defence, instead of being greater than that of 1757, in face of 
the greater forces arrayed against Louisbourg, was weaker. The supply of 
money in the treasury of France was low, and was engaged for the land war in 
Germany. The British captures of her men-of-war and her merchantmen had 
diminished the number of seamen. The appalling mortality of the autumn and 
winter, through plague brought back to Brest by Du Bois de la Motte's fleet, had 
further reduced the forces available for manning the ships. 2 Insubordination 
and desertion, the results of ill-treatment, lowered the quality of those who 
embarked. So few were the men, that La Clue was nearly a year recruiting for 
the six ships under his command. 3 So bad was their quality that Le Chevalier 
de Mirabeau refused command of a squadron, giving his reasons to the Minister 
in these outspoken words : 

" My life, Sir, and not my honour, belongs to the King. They have broken pledges to 
the sailors in an unheard of manner. Not paying these wretches is a cruelty, palliated here 
(Toulon) by necessity without doubt, but marked by incidents which make one shudder 
when they happen before one's eyes. . . . Du Quesnel's men failed him before the enemy} 
I cannot, nor do I wish to expose myself to the same hazard." 4 

1 This condition is further dealt with in Chap. XV. 
2 See Chap. XV. 3 La Cour-Gayet, p. 179. * La Cour-Gayet, p. 282. 


With such crews La Clue left Toulon, November 8, to repeat, if possible, 
the voyage to St. Domingo and Louisbourg which De Beauffremont had so 
successfully made in the spring. Admiral Osborne held for England the Straits 
of Gibraltar, and forced La Clue to take refuge in Carthagena, where he was 
joined in January by some ships under De Motheux, which brought his strength up 
to thirteen vessels. Preparations to strengthen Louisbourg, notwithstanding this 
delay, were continued by the French. Du Quesnel, lately Governor-General of 
Canada, by drawing on men recently returned from a cruise, was able to sail from 
Toulon in command of the Foudroyant, 80, one of the finest ships of the French 
Navy, and peculiarly endeared to that service as she had been La Galissoniere's 
flagship at Minorca. She was accompanied by the Orphte, 64, and two smaller 
vessels. In sight of La Clue, Du Quesnel engaged the English ships off 
Carthagena on the 28th of February. The Qrphte fell at once, and after a 
combat carried on by the Monmouth, 70, with unabated (pertinacity, after the 
death of her captain, Du Quesnel struck to the smaller ship. 1 La Clue had to 
return to Toulon, for the superior forces of the British, with Gibraltar as its 
base, blocked the passage to the Atlantic. 

The strengthening of Louisbourg from the Mediterranean being thus 
rendered impossible, efforts were made elsewhere, and the intendants of the naval 
dep6ts on the Atlantic were ordered to hasten the dispatch of ships for Isle 
Royale. The Magnifique left Brest early in March, and arrived in the drift ice 
off Louisbourg on the Jist of that month. She hung there with appalling 
sufferings of her crew. One hundred and twenty of her men died, twelve from 
cold in one night. On another, the ship was unworkable from a " silver thaw." 
Villeon, her commander, abandoned the voyage, and with only thirty men, 
including officers, fit for duty, arrived back on May 5, at Corunna. 2 Another 
vessel never got away from the French coast . the Raisonable, 64, commanded by 
the Prince de Montbazon, was overpowered and captured just after leaving Brest 
for Louisbourg. 3 The Prudent, 64, commanded by the Marquis des Gouttes, 4 
arrived at Louisbourg on March 24, and on the 28th Beaussier brought into port 
his squadron consisting of : 

U Entreprenant, 74 (Beaussier). Le Caprideux, 64 (De Tourville). 

Le Bitnfaisant, 64 (Courserac). Le Ctlebre^ 64 (De Marolle). 

La Comhe, 74 (Lorgeril). 

The two first named were fully armed ; the other three were en flute, that 
is, serving as freighters and transports. They brought provisions, and a battalion 
of Volontaires Etrangers under D'Anthonay. 5 The supplies brought by these 

1 Corbctt givci a brief and picturesque account of this action and its significance to the two services, vol. i. 259. 
1 Marine, B, 80. 3 La Cour-Gayet, p. 311. * See Appendix. See Appendix. 


vessels and others 1 placed Drucour in a position to carry on his defence without 
further anxiety about munitions or supplies. 2 

The Court was anxious to supplement Drucour by officers of experience in 
warfare. Blenac de Courbon 3 was transferred from his position as Commandant 
at Brest to Louisbourg with the grade of Commander of its sea and land forces. 4 
He set sail on the Formidable on May n, found Louisbourg blocked, and 
returned to Brest on June 27. 5 His appointment was made on April 10, so 
that there was no haste displayed in his setting out, while his report to the 
Minister, that he was " exceedingly happy to bring back to a good port the ship 
which had been entrusted to me," 6 would indicate a lack of energy which made 
his absence no great loss to the defence. On March 30, De la Houliere was 
appointed to command the land forces, and arrived in Louisbourg by the Bizarre 
on the 3<Dth of May. The troops were assembled and his position proclaimed on 
June i. 7 On the same day there came to the town an officer of the Dragon, 
and the adjutant of Cambis, with the welcome news that DuchafFault had arrived 
at Port Dauphin. His force consisted of six vessels ; only two of them and a 
frigate had then arrived, but these had on board a battalion of Cambis as a 
reinforcement for the garrison. An officer was sent with instructions for 
DuchafFault to land this regiment, and to come with his ships to Louisbourg 
as soon as possible. 


The sight of Boscawen's fleet was no surprise to Drucour and his officers. 
Indians had come with the news that they had seen the fleet off Fourchu. His 
vigilance was fully awake. He had, as early as the 28th of April, manned the 
entrenchments along the shores which Du Bois de la Motte had planned and 
erected in 1757 against Loudon's threatened attack. In consultation with 
Franquet, he had visited the shore and agreed on the sites at Pointe Blanche and 
Pointe Plate for cannon (May I and 3), and forthwith proceeded to prepare for 
their emplacement (May 5), while on the eastern side of the harbour he 
established posts of 100 men, afterwards increased to 250, drawn in part from 
the fleet, at L'Anse a Gautier, the most practicable landing near the lighthouse, 
as well as at the Lorembecs. 

The garrisons of Port Toulouse and Port Dauphin were brought in on 
the 7th, and Drucour for the first time this spring had authentic news, but 

1 The Apollo, April \$\Le Che-vre, April 24 ; La Fidele, frigate, May 10 ; three merchant vessels on May 19-27 j the 
frigates Bizarre and Arethuse on May 30, the former enjiute. 

2 He says that Louisbourg was fully provisioned for a year for the first time since 1735 (Drucour's Journal). 

3 See Appendix. 4 I.R. B, 107. 

5 Marine, B 4 , vol. 80. 6 Waddington, Guerre de Sept Ans, vol. ii. p. 336. 

7 For further details of De la Houliere's interesting career see Appendix. De la Houliere had seen much service, had 
taken part in nine sieges, and had been since 1735 King's Lieutenant at Salces, near Perpignan. 


not later than early April, that the ships which had wintered in Halifax were 
refitting. 1 

Various bands of Indians and Acadians came in, and the younger Villejouin 
brought ninety Acadians from L'Isle St. Jean, who were sent to a camp at 
Gabarus Bay. In expectation of harassing the besiegers by these irregulars and 
Indians, two depots of provisions were made on the Mire. A battery was even 
erected at Port Dauphin and abattis and other siege material prepared. The 
troops in the entrenchments were relieved weekly, but, before the month had 
ended, the chapel of the spacious hospital had to be turned into a ward, to 
accommodate the men who had fallen ill from exposure to the fog and rain. A 
council of the captains of the ships of the navy was held on the 1 5th of May, to 
concert measures for the defence of the port. It was decided to prepare fire- 
ships, and an armed chaloupe, and to range the men-of-war in positions most 
favourable for the defence of the port. The larger ships lay in their new 
positions in a crescent between the Royal Battery and the Bastion de la Grave. 

Those of the men-of-war which had arrived en fl&tc, had mounted their 
guns, but were otherwise inactive. An English frigate more than once came 
along past the town and penetrated, with her boats out, taking soundings, into 
the very bottom of Gabarus Bay ; she lay at anchor another night, only two 
cannon-shot offPointe Blanche; and although in the former case no supporting 
ships were within four or five leagues, no attempt was made to attack her. 
Drucour notes with admiration the daring of her commander. 

A few words will describe the site of the impending conflict. The shores 
of Gabarus Bay slope upwards from beaches and rocky points to a considerable 
height, which is reached at about a mile distant from the water. This tract, 
except where the morass or moorland extends to the shore, or the rocky ledges 
rise in bare shoulders, is covered with forest or scrub growth. The farthest 
point to the westward, which the French guarded by seventy troops under the 
younger Villejouin, was the Montague au Diable, from which a footpath led to 
the Mire road, giving by it access to the town. About 4000 yards nearer was 
L'Anse a la Coromandiere, which French and English strategists alike had 
picked out as a vulnerable point. It was, therefore, the object of attack, but 
also the place where were made the most elaborate preparations for defence. 
The distance between its headlands is about 660 yards, but on neither of these 
points did it seem possible to land. Midway on the arc of its shore is a rocky 
point, and on either side of it a beautiful sandy beach, from which the cliff rises 
abruptly about 15 or 20 feet from high water. Along this higher land the 
trenches were strengthened by an abattis of trees felled with their tops outward, 
thickly strewn along the beach below. So thickly were they planted that they 

1 Eleven Indian! brought back 7 prisoners and 16 scalps in a schooner they had captured. 


^T^ O 

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h '5 


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8 a 


appeared as a natural grove. A little brook runs into the sea close to the 
eastern point of the cove. This point is a shoulder of land high enough to 
hide from the shores of the cove all the coast and sea to the eastward. This 
disadvantage of the position had been foreseen in the defences made in 1757. 
A nid de 'pie or watch-tower had been erected on or near this ridge, from which 
could be seen the whole range of the shore towards the town, say about four 
miles ; and during the time in 1757 that a descent by the English was possible 
had been occupied by a detachment. 1 It was now left unoccupied. Pointe 
Platte and Pointe Blanche were strongly entrenched and guarded. The stretches 
of coast between these defences was most difficult to land on, and, by the more 
sanguine of the defenders, thought inaccessible. Tourville, perhaps the most 
accurate of the observers of events in Louisbourg, however, took a less hopeful 
view. He walked forth one day, the 7th, to inspect the defences at these 
nearer posts, and was satisfied with them, and knew Coromandiere was good ; 
but, while the coast was rock strewn, the intervals between the defences were 
great, and he believed there was danger of an unexpected landing. 2 

The gale of Sunday subsided, and Monday was a day of calm and thick 
fog, so that both sides were ignorant of what the other was doing. The French 
heard the sounds of hammering without knowing its cause, the carpenters of 
the fleet working at the Trent's rudder. While the fog continued Wolfe 
reconnoitred the shore to see if a landing was practicable. Boscawen, possibly 
not to have to depend on the decision of a marine question by an impetuous 
soldier, sent Commodore Durell on the same mission, but there was no difference 
of opinion between the sea and land officers. They agreed that a landing could 
not be made. 

As was known to Amherst, the French were strengthening their defences. 
An 8 -inch mortar was mounted on the 5th on a small hillock between 
Pointe Platte and the Coromandiere, and fired that day until the fog came 
down. 3 The same day the encouraging news came in that eleven companies of 
Cambis had arrived at Mire, and that De Chaffault had worked out of Port 
Dauphin with the remaining six on his ships, and lay under Cibou Islands, at 
the mouth of that harbour, in the most advantageous position, to sail with the 
first fair wind for Louisbourg. 4 

Details of men from their ships in the harbour were engaged in hauling a 
24-lb. cannon to its position at the battery of the Coromandiere, an arduous 
task, delayed by the nature of the ground and the breaking of its carriage. 

Although the Bay of Gabarus was occupied by the enemy, in whose sight 

1 Johnstone says he served there. 2 " Je croy qu'il a lieu de craindre a cet igard " (Journal of the Cafricieux). 

3 Lartigue, in a note on his map, says a battery should have been placed at this point, but Drucour's account is 
confirmed by the Anon. Jl. 4 Ten arrived in Louisbourg the next day, the other on the 7th. 


they performed the feat, two boats' crews of Basque fishermen, volunteers for 
the service, carried two heavy cannon to Pointe Blanche ; where they were at 
once mounted. 1 

The disposition of the regular troops in the field was finally : 

Cannon. Swivel*. Mortari. Men. 

At Coromandiere under St. Julhicn, fiof24J , 

Col. of Artois \4 6/ 

Pte. Platte. Marin, Col. of Hour- {,5^6 , q ^ o 

gogne \ 4 " / 

Pte. Blanche. D'Anthonay, Col. fi 24 i 

ofV.E. 16 6/ 

Cape Noir . . . . 2 24 75 

On the eastern side of the port : 

The Lighthouse 

Anses a Gautier ^4 6j- ... 350 

Grand Lorembec 

And detachments of 50 soldiers 

each at La Montagne du 

Diable and Petit Lorembec, \ ... ... ... 100 

at the west and east of the 

fortified entrenchments 


In addition there were the militia, Acadians, and Indians, making the total 
force over 3<DOO. 2 

While these preparations for defence were being carried on the plans of the 
besiegers were modified by fresh discoveries of local conditions. The landing- 
force was to be divided in three parts : Whitmore^Sj the white division,^waTto 
form the right wing ; Lawrence's, the blue, the left; and ^JVolFe was to lead a 
body of Highlanders, Light Infantry, and Irregulars. Amherst's general orders 
of the 3rd indicate that his purpose was to attack at three places, at White and 
Flat Points, and Wolfe's force 3 further to the west. A heavy surf prevented 
an attempt being made that day ; and it was, moreover, discovered that the 
water off White Point would not allow the frigates to approach that point near 
enough to have their fire cover effectively the landing troops of the right 
division. A modification of the first plan was made in the orders of the 4th. 

Amherst determined to have the white division, Whitmore's, distract the 
enemy's attention at White Point, and then to follow Lawrence's division, the 

1 Drucour's Jl. 7th. 

3 There is no great discrepancy between this list and the number of guns taken as given by Gordon, p. 1 16. 
3 It was, after a landing, to join that of Lawrence. 




blue, which was to land on the shore opposite their station, Flat Point, or to 
follow the Grenadiers. The reconnaissances along the shore had obviously 
failed to give Amherst and his staff any adequate idea of the French strength, 
for these orders state that : 

"The General, not to lose a moment of time, has thought proper to order that an 
attack be made upon the little Intrenchments within the Fresh Water Cove with four 
companies of Grenadiers. That no Body, regulars or irregulars, may dare stand before 
them. These detachments are to be commanded by Brigadier General Wolfe. . . . The 
Army is to land and attack the French in three different Bodies and at three different 
places, all the Grenadiers and detachments of the right Wing land upon the right in the 
bay within White Point, the Light Infantry, Irregulars, and Highlanders are to land in 
the Fresh Water Cove in order to take the Enemy in the flank and rear, and cut some 
of them off from the Town. The Highlanders, Light Infantry, and Irregulars, are to 
Rendezvous to the right of the Island lying before the Fresh Water Cove to be ready 
to run in the cove when the Signal is given." 

It seems probable that Amherst's Fresh-Water Cove was at the outlet of 
the stream which falls into the sea near Flat Point. Here is an islet only about 
a furlong from the shore to the right of which might advantageously be placed the 
supports of the four companies which were to effect the landing. From this 
point they could best " take the enemy in flank and rear," and cut some 
of them off from the town. If Fresh- Water Cove was the same place as 
Coromandiere, the supports of the four companies were to rendezvous at an 
islet six or seven times as far from the shore as the one at Flat Point, and the 
position, if the landing were effected, the least favourable for cutting the enemy 
off from the town. The operation would have been a pursuit, as in the 
event it was, not an intersection of a line of retreat. Moreover, if Fresh- Water 
Cove was the same as Coromandiere, as it was in the usage of the navy, 1 it 
would be absurd to assemble the force for an) attack on it, at the most distant 
part of the line, " the right of the right attack." But if there be doubt as to 
Amherst's intentions on different days, it is clear that attempts to effect a landing 
were being made. 

On the 6th, a day which opened with south-west wind and fog, Boscawen 
signalled to prepare to land, in an interval when the weather showed signs of 
clearing. The boats were sent to the ships, and by eight the troops were 
in them, under the immediate supervision of Lawrence and Wolfe. Boscawen 
and Amherst went later to order the disembarkation, but it fell calm, the fog 
came down with heavy rains, and, following a rising breeze, "a large swell 
tumbled in from the sea." The men, after rowing in shore and finding it 

1 Boscawen's Jl. speaks of Cormorant, and Captain Jacobs of Fresh- Water Cove, referring to the same place (Captains' 
Logs, 499). 


impossible to land, were recalled and ordered back to the ships, Amherst " first 
acquainting them with the reason for so doing." With the knowledge fresh in 
his mind of the irritation in subordinate officers, and the rank and file, over the 
faint-hearted attack on Rochefort, the previous year, Amherst doubtless did not 
wish to damp the ardour of his force by an appearance of a lack of enterprise. 

Wednesday, the yth, the weather was clear, but the surf was still high, 
though operations at sea could be carried on, and W r olfe spent the early morning 
in sounding at the head of the bay. Bragg's regiment, which were still in the 
small vessels in which they had come from the Bay of Fundy, were detached, 
under convoy of the frigate Juno, to make a feint on the lighthouse point and 
L'Anse a Gautier. This had little effect, for the French recognized it as being 
not serious. Hoping that the next day would bring better weather, Boscawen 
gave orders to the captains to have their boats at the transports at midnight, 
and that profound silence should be observed. Amherst again, on the yth, 
issued general orders. The boats of the right were to assemble at the transport 
I'iolet) to which they were to be guided by three lights hung on the seaward side 
at the water's edge. The left wing, under Lawrence, assembled at the St. George, 
which hung out two lights ; and Wolfe with the Grenadier Companies, the 
Highlanders, Light Infantry, under Major Scott, picked marksmen from all 
the regiments, and colonial irregulars, was to be in readiness at the Neptune, 
distinguished by a single lantern. After midnight no other lights were to be 
shown on the transports, and the men were cautioned to prevent the accidental 
discharge of a musket, as the General's intention was to surprise the French as 
well as attack them. He asked for the care and vigilance of the officers of the 
transports, and expressed his confidence in the good disposition of the troops, 
and added that should the Admiral and General decide to alarm the enemy 
earlier, the troops were to take no notice. 

Although the fire from the French positions, well maintained between the 
4th and yth, indicated that they were stronger than Amherst had thought, 
it did not alter his later dispositions, 1 and the attack was arranged for in 
this order : 

The right wing directed against Pointe Blanche : 

Brigadier Whitmore 

Colonel Burton and Colonel Foster 

Regiments 1st Royals 48 Webb's 

47 Laselles' 58 Anstruther's 

2nd Batt. Americans 17 Forbes' 

Bragg's, which should have formed part of this brigade, was detached to make a feint 
to the eastward to distract the enemy. 

1 The fog lifting on the 7th disclosed to some degree these positions to the British (Gordon Jl. 7). 


The left wing directed against Pointe Platte : 

Brigadier-General Lawrence 
Colonel Wilmot and 

22nd Whitmore's 

3rd Batt. Americans 

45 Warburton's 

2 5 I 

Colonel Handfield 
35 Ot way's 
40 Hopson's 
15 Amherst's. 

The 63 Eraser's were detached from this brigade to form part of 

The Left Attack 
Brigadier Wolfe 
Colonels Murray and Fletcher 

The Grenadier Companies of the I5th, 22nd, I7th, and 1st Regiments 
The Irregulars and Light Infantry 
The 63 Eraser's Regiment and the Grenadier Companies of the 4Oth, 4yth, 

45th, 35th, 58th, and the 2nd and 3rd battalions of the 6oth and 48th 

Regiments in the order named. 

The right wing took up its position behind its supporting frigates, the 
Sutherland and Squirrel ; the left were, until the decisive moment, to be drawn 
up behind the Gramont, Diana, and Shannon ; while the left attack was supported 
by the Kennington frigate and the Halifax snow, which were close in shore at the 
Coromandiere, to which the frigate has since given her name. 1 

Nothing but success was counted on. The troops were to take in their 
pockets bread and cheese for two days, and leave their blankets to follow after a 
landing had been secured. 

Thursday, June 8, Durell rowed along the shore unmolested by the 
French, and came back to report that there was not so heavy a surf as to prevent 
landing, at least in Coromandiere. The French batteries began firing at the 
nearer ships, and their troops were mustered in the entrenchments. The frigates 
fired briskly on them for about a quarter of an hour. It being then light, the 
watchers from the ramparts of the town, drawn there by the heavy firing giving 
poignancy to their anxiety, saw three to four hundred boats row in divisions 
from between the sheltering ships. The attack they thought was being delivered 
on the eastern points. In a little time, before these boats had reached the shore, 
they were seen to turn towards the Coromandiere. As Wolfe's force, the 
weakest of the three in numbers, but made up of picked men, rowed into the cove, 
" the enemy," says Amherst, " acted very wisely, did not throw away a shot 
until the boats were close in shore," and then poured in on them so deadly a fire, 
as the soldiers in the trenches were provided with spare loaded muskets, that 

1 The Kennington, Captain Jacobs, had taken up her position on the 3rd (Captains' Logs, No. 499). As they were 
being damaged by the fire from the shore, she and the other frigate were ordered by Boscawen to warp further off on 
the 4th (Boscawen's Journal). On the morning of the 8th, she took her position within a musket-shot of the shore 
(Captains' Logs, No. 499). 


landing was impossible. It looked as if Wolfe's first experience in command was 
to be a disastrous failure, for, notwithstanding his eagerness and the courage of 
his men, his advance was decisively checked. He gave the signal to retreat, and 
his boats turned to the open. In Amherst's orders, the officers in charge were 
cautioned to " avoid huddling together and running into a lump." Three boats 
on the right of Wolfe's force drifted or rowed towards the east and there found 
themselves sheltered by the ridge from the fire of St. Julhien's men. Just at its 
foot is still a little space of sand among the rocks of the shore. They effected 
a landing on it. Wolfe saw the movement, or was advised of it by one of them, 
and turned again to the point. The repulse had not chilled the ardour of his 
men. A sergeant in one of the boats, as they rowed into the first attack, stood up 
in his boat and cried out, " Who would not go to Hell, to hear such music for half 
an hour ? ' A shorter time was given him, for he was shot dead as he stood ; but 
there were many among the soldiery as reckless of consequences. Some of the boats, 
when they reached the rocky shore, were dashed to pieces or stove in by collision. 
The men, Wolfe among them, leaped into the water. Those who kept their 
feet waded ashore, those who fell were drowned or crushed by the heaving boats. 
Some of them had taken regular formation on the higher ground before the 
other brigades reached the shore. St. Julhien, his outlook obscured by the 
smoke of his own fire and that of the frigates, was busy serving his guns at an 
enemy which he thought was still in the boats in front of his position. The 
distance was too great for Marin at Flat Point to know what was taking place. 
Some skirmishing between irregulars and Wolfe's men occurred. 2 When St. 
Julhien was advised of the landing, he hesitated, lost time, and, instead of a 
brilliant attacked delivered by him, on a handful of men with wet muskets, what 
took place was an attack of his flank and rear by an enemy pouring over the 
ridge. His troops, which had been in the trenches in bad weather, some for a 
week, others for a fortnight, were in no condition to stand such an onslaught. 8 
They broke and fled towards the town, pursued by Wolfe and the light troops. 
So rapid was the advance that it was only by travelling with seven-league boots, 
" a pas de geant," that Marin's men were not cut off in their retreat from Flat 
Point. The French rallied for a little above the Barachois, but were there in 
danger of being surrounded by the two forces in which the British advanced. 
The pursuit was only ended by a cannonade from the walls, which marked for 
Amherst the point at which he could safely put his advanced camps. The 
artillery and stores at Coromandiere and Flat Point fell into the English hands. 
D'Anthonay held his ground at White Point until he received orders to retire, 

1 Hamilton MSS. - "Our troops killed and scalped an Indian Sachem the day we landed" (Wolfe to Sackville). 
1 " Ye Rangers Started them first, they Ran and Hollow'd and fired on behind them and they left their Brest 
work" (Knap, p. 8). 


and then came in, after destroying his material. 1 It was after four when the 
attack began, it was six when Boscawen landed, and at about eight the French 
troops were under the protection of the guns of the town. So short a time 
had this decisive event taken, but little more than twice as long as leisurely 
and unmolested pedestrians would take to land and go over the same broken 
ground. 2 

The young officers who turned the tide were Lieutenants Hopkins and 
Brown and Ensign Grant of the 35th Regiment. 3 Their exploit may well have 
been one of the foundations for the tradition as to the luck of the British Army. 
Wolfe's attack was a direct frontal one on an impregnable position. Had St. 
Julhien allowed his enemy to land and become entangled in the abattis, the 
appalling disaster which befell at Ticonderoga 4 the equally gallant troops of 
Abercomby would have been anticipated at the Coromandiere. Had a corporal's 
guard been on the ridge, the first boats might have been beaten off. Had Wolfe 
been no quicker to act than at least one of his fellow-brigadiers, 5 or had St. 
Julhien been as quick as Wolfe, success would have continued with the French. 
Neither Wolfe nor Amherst mention the incident ; we know of it through 
private accounts both French and English. 

The three young officers leading Highlanders, says Hamilton, the light 
infantry, says Gordon, struck a new note in the Seven Years' War. Vacillation 
and an excess of caution had marked its conduct, but later its most brilliant 
exploits were in the form which they first gave, accomplishing the impracticable. 
Perchance to them had filtered down the opinion of Wolfe, " The greatness of an 
object should come into consideration as opposed to the impediments that lie in 
the way." Its spirit surely informed their action. Wolfe, himself, but followed 
their example at Quebec ; and like them, Lambart " by attempting a place where 

1 He did not spike his guns. 

2 After much hesitation I have adopted this version of the sequence ot these events. It follows Amherst's account 
in so far as the main attack, being intended against the Coromandiere. There are, however, difficulties in accepting this 
view. If the attacks of the main brigades were not to be serious, why did Whitmore come under fire ? (Anon. Journal). 
If it was the well-ordered operation which appears in Amherst's account, it is difficult to explain Wolfe's view of the 
event, except by attributing to him a talent for exaggeration quite phenomenal. That opinion was, " Our landing was 
next to miraculous. ... I wouldn't recommend the Bay of Gabarouse for a descent, especially as we managed it " (Wolfe 
to Sackville, Hist. MSS. Com. Ninth Report, p. 76). 

The losses at the landing were : 

British Regulars : Killed 3 officers, Captain Baillie and Lieut. Cuthbert of Fraser's. Lieut. Nicholson of Amherst's, 
4 sergeants, i corporal, and 38 men. Of these only 8 were shot, the others were drowned. Wounded : 5 lieuts., 2 
sergeants, i corporal, and 51 men. 

Rangers : i ensign and 3 men killed, i wounded and i missing. They took 4 French officers and about 70 men 
prisoners, 17 guns, 2 mortars, and 14 swivels, with supplies and stores of all kinds. 

The French loss is stated by Drucour as 114, including deserters from the Volontaires Etrangers. Three officers 
were wounded. 

3 For the meagre details I have been able to find about these officers, see end of Chapter. 

4 July 8, 1758. See Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, chap, xx., and his App. G. 

5 " Whitmore is a poor, old, sleepy man " (Wolfe to Sackville, Ninth Report Hist. MSS. Com. p. 76). 


the mounting of the rocks was just possible" won a foothold at Belle Isle. 1 
True it may be that had there been above the rocks of Coromandiere a post 
in the " magpies' nest," had a more vigilant officer than Vergor held the outpost 
at L'Anse a Koulon, had the force under the gallant De Ste. Croix been larger, 
failure and not success had befallen the British arms on these decisive occasions, 
but greatly daring, and promptly succoured, they all won, through unexpected 
ways, the crucial foothold. 


It is impossible to say with any certainty who these three were. An examination of 
the records of the time reveal one Lieut. Hopkins, 3 Lieuts. Grant, and no less than 6 
Lieuts. Brown, all serving in America at the time of the siege of Louisbourg, and probably 
all serving at the siege itself. 

Hopkins. Among the "Commissions granted by the Earl of Loudoun during his 
command in America."' 

Thomas Hopkins is appointed a Lieutenant in the 48th (Webb's) vice Gordon, pd., on 
the 6th June 1757. A Return of killed and wounded, sent in Amherst's dispatch of 

27 July 1758, includes the name of "Lt. Hopkins, of Webb's," among the wounded. 3 Presum- 
ably he resigned in America, as among the Commissions granted by Amherst in America 
we read, "Jno. Clarke, Lt., 48th vice Hopkins, resd., 8 Mar. 1759." The Army List for 
1759 (War Office copy) also has Hopkin's name crossed out and a MS. addition "Res. 
John Clarke, 8 Mar. '59." This appears to be the only Lieut. Hopkins who served at 

the siege of Louisbourg. 4 

Grant. John Grant was appointed Lieutenant to the 58th (Anstruther's) 28 January 
I758. 3 He appears to have been the only lieutenant of the name at Louisbourg at the actual 
time of the surrender, but among the "Commissions granted by Amherst at the camp at 
Louisbourg " appear commissions to 5 

Allan Grant, as Lieutenant of the Royal Americans, 2d Batt., vice Hart, killed, 

28 July 1758 ; and 

Alexander Grant, as Lieutenant of the Royal Americans, 3d. Batt., vice Longsdon, 
dead, 23 August 1758. 

Broivn. The Army Lists of 1758 and 1759 give the following : 

22d (Whitmore's) Lt. Henry Brown 25 Oct. 1756. 

28th (Bragg's) Lt. Frans. Brnun 9 April 1756. 

35th (Otway's) Lt. Thomas Brown 16 Feb. 1756. 

6oth (Amherst's) Lt. John Brown 9 Feb. 1756. 

1 In 1760 (see Corbctt, vol. ii. pp. 160-167, f r an account of this event, in which we read the names of places 
familiar to us in the pages of Dumas). 

8 (W.O. 25/25 Commission Rooks 1757-60), C.O. 5/53. 3 W.O. 25/25. 

Army List, 1759. 3 W.O. 25/25. 


2 55 

In addition to these, the E. of Loudon in America granted a commission to Lieut. 
William Brown of the 6oth vice Ridge, pd. 13 Dec. 1756 j 1 and Amherst at the camp at 
Louisbourg granted a Lieutenant's commission to William Browne of the 35th (Otway's) 
vice Thomas Comeford, killed 31 July 1758. A "Lt. Brown of Otway's" is included 
among the wounded in Amherst's Return of killed and wounded at Louisbourg. This was 
probably the above-named Lt. Thomas Brown, as William Browne was only an ensign 
until July 31, four days later than the date of the return. 


Henry Brown, 25 Oct. 1756, Lieut. (Disappears in I76i.) 8 

Francis Brown, 9 April 1756, Lieut. (In the Army List for 1763 there is written against 

his name, " Francis Brown 28 Mar. '63." After this his name disappears, so that is 

probably the date of his death, or may be retirement). 4 
Thomas Brown, 16 Feb. 1756, Lieut. (Disappears in 1761. ) 5 
John Brown, 9 Feb. 1756, Lieut., 15 Sept. 1760, Capt. (Disappears in 1764, but reappears 

in 1765 as): 14 Jan. 1764, Capt.; Army Rank, 15 Sept. 1760; 22 Sept. 1775, 

Major ; 14 June 1777, Retired. 6 
William Brown, 13 Dec. 1756, Ensign; 31 Oct. 1759, Lieut. (Disappears 1769.) [Toolate.] 


Allan Grant, 8 I Feb. 1756, Ensign; 28 July 1758, Lieut; 7 Oct. 1763, Regt. Rank. 

(Continued in Army Lists until 1772, when his name is crossed out and a Ml. 

note written against it. " David Alexandre Grant, 1 1 May '72." He does not 

appear later.) 
Alexander Grant, 9 2 Feb. 1756, Ensign ; 23 Aug. 1758, Lieut. (Crossed out in the Army 

List of 1760 and marked "dd.") 

Commissions were granted at the camp at Louisburgh to : 
Allan Grant, Rl. Americans, 2d Battn., as Lieut, vice Hart, killed, 2d July 1758. 
Alexander Grant, Rl. Americans, 2d Battn., as Lieut, vice Longsdon, dead, 23 Aug. 1758. 

By referring to Amherst's account in Gordon's Journal it will be seen that the 
boats on the eastward of Wolfe's attack contained officers and men of the ist, of 
the Irregulars, Fraser's, the 35th and 48th regiments, and next to the last named, 
the 6oth. The head of the flotilla having actually got into the cove, the boats 
most likely to get beyond the sheltering front were those to the rear. I therefore 
hazard the opinion that these officers were Thomas Brown of the 35th (Otway's), 
Thomas Hopkins of the 48th (Webb's), and one or other of the Grants in the 
6oth, for it does not seem probable that a boat of the 58th, in which John 
Grant was Lieutenant, would have got from the extreme left of the detachment 
to its extreme right. 

1 W.O. 25/25. 
4 28th Bragg's. 
1 Army Lists and Commission Books. 

2 Army Lists. 
5 35th Otway's. 
8 6oth Regiment. 

3 22nd Regiment, Whitmore's. 
6 6oth Amherst's. 
9 6oth Regiment. 



Boicawetff "Journal 

THURSDAY, %th June 1758. 

At Midnight sent all the boats with proper Officers in them to assist in landing the 
troops. The Generals went with them, attended by their Aide de Camps. The 
Commodore with Captains Buckle, Lindsay, Balfour and Goostree went likewise to assist 
in the Disembarkation. By the Dawn of the Day all the Troops were in the Boats and 
ranged in their proper Divisions. The Enemy upon observing of this motion, began to 
throw Shells amongst the Frigates and Transports. The Kennington and Halifax ran close 
into Cormorant Cove, and at 4 I saw the Boats rowing towards the Shore with the Troops 
and at the Sun's rising the Kennington and Halifax began to fire upon the Enemy to cover 
the Landing, which was followed by the Sutherland^ and rest of the Frigates placed in 
Shore. About 5 o'clock the Enemy began a very smart Fire at the Boats with both 
Cannon, Swivels and Small Arms, which continued about 15 minutes, when it ceas'd, part 
of the Troops having Landed and driven the Enemy out of their Entrenchments. 

Gordon s y ournal 

When the Fire from the Ships was thought Sufficient the Signal was made for the 
Grenadiers to row into the Cove which they accordingly did. The Enemy began a very 
hot fire of Musketry and Swivels, from their Entrenchments, and the same with Grape 
from their Batteries in Flank. After standing this some time still making for the shore, a 
small body of Light Infantry Commanded by Lieutenants Hopkins and Brown and Ensign 
Grant of the 35th Regiment seeing a convenient place on the right of the Cove that is 
free from the Enemy's Fire, the Surge being equally or more violent than in the Cove, 
made for it and getting ashore, were soon followed by the Whole ; came upon the Flank 
and back of the Enemy drove them, and Brigadier Wolfe, with a small body, pursued them 
within Cannonade of the Town. 

The right and Left Wings landed afterwards and were followed by the second Em- 
barkation. The Line was formed and marched nearer the Town, laid out the Encamp- 
ment for the Army, every Corps taking up their own ground. 

Amherrfs 'Journal 

On the 8th The Troops were in the Boats before the break of Day, in three Divisions 
according to the Plan annexed, and Comodore Durell having viewed the boats by order of 
the Admiral and given me his opinion that the Troops might land, without danger from 
the Surf, in the bay on our left the Kennington and Halifax now began the fire upon the 
left followed by the Grammont^ Diana^ and Shannon Frigates in the Centre and the 
Sutherland and Squirrell upon the right, when the fire had continued about a quarter of an 
Hour, the Boats upon the left rowed into the Shore under the Command of General Wolfe, 
whose Detachment was composed of the four Eldest Companys of Grenadiers, followed by 
the light Infantry (a Corps of 550 men chosen as Marksmen from the different Regiments, 
serve as Irregulars and are commanded by Major Scott, who was Major of Brigade) and 


Companys of Rangers, supported by the Highland Regiment, and those by the Eight 
remaining Companys of Grenadier. 

The Division on the right under the Command of Br. Genl. Whitmore consisted of 
the Royal, Lascelles, Monckton, Forbes, Anstruther and Webb, and rowed to our right 
by the White Point as if intending to force a landing there. 

The Centre Division under the command of Br. Genl. Lawrence was formed of 
Amherst's, Hopson's, Otway's, Whitmore's Lawrence's and Warburton's, and made at 
the same time a Shew of landing at the fresh water Cove : this drew the Enemy's atten- 
tion to every part and prevented their Troops posted along the Coast from Joining those 
on their right. 

The Enemy acted very wisely, did not throw away a Shot till the Boats were near in 
shore, and then directed the whole fire of their Cannon and Musketry upon them : the Surf 
was so great that a place could hardly be found, to get a boat on shore ; notwithstanding 
the fire of the Enemy and the Violence of the Surf, Brigadier Wolfe pursued his point, and 
landed just at their left of the Cove, took post, attacked the enemy, and forced them to 
retreat. Many Boats overset, several broke to Pieces, and all the Men jumped into the 
water to get on shore. 

As soon as the left Division was landed the first Detachment of the Centre rowed at 
a proper time to the left and followed, then the remainder of the Centre division as fast as 
the boats could fetch them from the Ships, and the right Division followed the Centre in 
like manner. 

It took a great deal of time to land the Troops, the enemy's retreat, or rather flight, 
was through the roughest and worst ground I ever saw, and the pursuit ended with a 
canonading from all the town which was so far of use, that it pointed out how near I could 
encamp to invest it, on which the Regiments marched to their ground, and lay on their 
Arms. The Wind increased, and we could not get anything on shore. 

Anon. Journal (Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 11,813, f. 82-88). 

The morning very Clear, Little wind and Surge. The Troops Rendezvoused 
according to order at \ past 3 o'clock in the morning. Our Bomb Ketch then Began 
to Exchange shells with the Enemy at 4 o'clock our Frigates and Sloops Cannonaded 
furiously. \ past 4 the Left wing rowed close in with the shore, in Fresh Water Cove, 
the Enemy kept so brisk a fire from their Entrenchments and from three Batterys with 
Grape shot that our troops were order'd to retreat and Land to ye Right of ye Cove, 
which they perfected with Great Difficulty, One Boat in which were Twenty Grenadiers 
and an officer was stove, and Every one Drowned. The African Rangers 1 under the 
Command of Major Scott, were the first that Landed. Fifty of these repulsed above 
a hundred French, who were coming to oppose the landing of our men, the Difficulty 
of Landing at this place was such that they thought the Devil himself would not have 
attempted it. 

An Authentic Account^ June 8. 

About 4 this morning under cover of the Ship's Guns, the Boats with a Division of 
the Troops, after a general Rendezvous near White Point^ made an Attempt of landing 

1 An obvious mistake for "American." 



to the Left at Kennington Cove with 600 Light Infantry. The whole Battalion of 
Highlanders, and 4 Companies of Grenadiers, under the Command of Brigadier General 
Wolfe ; while a Feint of landing was made to the Right towards White Point conducted 
by Brigadier General Whitmore ; and the Brigades in the centre were commanded by 
Brigadier General Laurence, who made a Shew at Fresh-Water Cove, the move to distract 
the Enemy's Attention, and to divide their Force. 

The Left Wing finding the Shore at Kennington Cove impregnable, withdrew with 
some loss from the warm fire of two Batteries discharging Grape and round Shot upon them 
in Flank ; while several Swivels, and small Arms almost without number showered on them 
from the Lines, that were about 15 feet above the Level of the Boats. 

As the Enemy had for some Tears been preparing against such a probable attempt ; 
they had now been some Days in Expectation of our Visit : They had accordingly posted 
3000 Regulars, Irregulars, and a few of the native Indians, in all the probable places of the 
landing, behind a very strong Breast-work fortified at proper Distances with several pieces 
of Cannon, besides Swivels of an extraordinary Calibre, mounted on very strong perpen- 
dicular Stocks of Wood, driven deep into the Ground : They had also prepared for flank- 
ing, by erecting Redans mounted with Cannon in the most advantageous Situations 
Nothing of the Kind has perhaps been seen more complete than these Fort ific ation s. 

Besides, all the approaches to the Front fines were rendered so extremely difficult by 
the Trees they had laid very thick together upon the Shore round all the Cove, with their 
Branches lying towards the sea, for the Distances of 20 in some, and of 30 Yards in 
other places, between the Lines and the Water's Edge ; that, had our people not been 
exposed to such a Fire from the Enemy, the bare attempt of possessing these Lines, 
would have been like that of travelling towards them through a wild Forest, from the 
interwoven Branches of one Tree to those of another with incredible Fatigue and endless 

Nor, was this Stratagem possible to be suspected at any great Distance, as the Place 
had the Appearance of one continued Green of little scattered Branches of Fir. And, but 
very few of the Guns on their Lines were to be distinguished out of the Reach of their 
Metal, the rest were artfully concealed from our View with Spruce-Branches until the Boats 
advanced towards the Shore, with the Resolution of forcing the Works The latent 
Destruction was then unmasked, by the removal of the Spruce-Branches and the adventurous 
Spectators were soon convinced, those works were not capable of being forced by numbers 
much superior to theirs. The Enemy depended much on their Strength here, which perhaps 
occasioned them to be somewhat premature in their exertion of it. For, before our Boats 
came near the water's edge, they began with great alertness to play their Batteries, and to 
fire red hot Balls, besides a continual Discharge of their small Arms among them. The 
consequence had been much more fatal to our People, few if any of whom would have 
escaped, had the enemy timed their fire with more Judgment, by permitting the Boats to 
have actually landed their men on that narrow Shoal beach, taking no other notice of them 
until they had been all in their Power, than they had done before of the Fire from our 
Frigates, and of some Boats that had been with Commodore Durell to reconnoitre the 
Shore, before any of the Troops had put off from the Transports. 

Exasperated, not discouraged, at this Repulse from the Enemy's irristible Fire, the 

1 Authentic Account, etc., June 8. 


troops of that IVing, drew off with all convenient expedition towards the Centre, determined 
to rush on Shore wherever they saw any Probability of Success, whatever Loss they might 
sustain. Soon after this the Lieutenants Browne and Hopkins, with Ensign Grant and 
about 100 of the Light Infantry happily gained the Shore over almost impracticable Rocks 
and Steeps to the Right of the Cove. Upon which Brigadier Wolfe directed the Remainder 
of this Command to push on Shore as soon as possible, and as well as they could which 
heightened their eager Impatience so much, that the Light Infantry, Highlanders and 
Grenadiers intermixed, rushed forward with impetuous Emulation, without Regard to any 
previous Orders, and piqued themselves mightily which Boat could be most dexterous and 
active in getting first on Shore. In this manner, though all the while exposed to the Fire 
of a Battery of three Guns, that sometimes raked, sometimes flanked their Boats very 
furiously, and of small arms within 20 yards of them, they were all expeditiously landed 
with little loss, besides about 22 Grenadiers, who were unfortunately drowned by having 
their Boats stove in the Bold Attempt. 

Among the foremost of these parties was Brigadier Wolfe, who jumped out of his Boat 
into the Surf to get to the Shore, and was readily followed by numbers of the Troops amidst 
a most obstinate Fire of the Enemy. Soon after landed Brigadier Lawrence, and was 
followed by the rest of the Brigades with all possible expedition. After him in a little 
time Brigadier Whitmore, and the Division of the Right Wing, gained the Shore, amidst 
a continual Charge of Shot and Shells, from the Enemy's Lines, several of the latter reach- 
ing also as far as the Brigades in the Centre. And last of all landed the Commander in 
Chief. Major-General Amherst in the Rear, full of the highest Satisfaction from seeing 
the Resolution, Bravery and Success of the Troops on surmounting Difficulties and 
despising Dangers. 

The Lieutenant of Warburton's (" Valbetone "), who died at Louisbourg 
after the siege, who was in the division which attacked the Sandy Cove 
(Coromandiere), " said to me that their landing on the left of the Cove was 
made by chance, that they had not believed this place possible for landing, that 
three boats had sought there refuge from our fire (s'y etaient jettees pour eviter 
notre feu), and that they had signalled the others to come on" (avaient fait signal 
aux autres d'advancer). (Poilly's Journal.) 

Princess Amelia. Captain's Log. No. 736. Captn. John Bray. 

June 8, 1758. Sent boats "to assist landing Coll. : Fraizer Grenadiers first & then 
what other Troops that remained not Landed a Cutter with a Mate to Land the Rangers 
at sun rising the Sutherland & all the Frigates began a Cannonading the Enemy's Batteries 
& Breast Works the Boats with the Troops at the same time begun to Approach the shore 
the Enemy suffer'd them to Come within pistol shot of the shore before they began to fire 
and then begun to fire with Great Guns & small arms excessively hot which continued 
14 minutes, but some Boats getting into some Rocks a little to the Eastward of the Bay 
Landed about 40 Rangers which Clamber'd up them & got into a small wood which 
Flank'd the Enemy's Breastworks, which when perceived by them on receiving their Fire 
quitted their Battery & Breastworks & took to the woods with the utmost Precipitation 
in the Battery & Breastwork were upwards of noo men, the Landing then became 


General they now and then firing single musquets out of the woods at the Boats." They 
5 killed & 10 wounded. 


Three barges of this division to avoid our fire, rushed (ce sont jette") behind a head 
Cap called Cap Rouge, which encloses the left of this Cove (Coromandiere). On this head 
thev had built a "nid de pie," where unhappily there was no detachment for what reason 
I know not. These barges found here a nook or two where they landed their men, and 
the third went to seek the others. (Anon. Journal.) 

This division (Wolfe's) thus shattered (Rompie) sought to retire beyond our fire. 
Their right sheltered themselves by the rocks which ended our entrenchments unmolested 
(Comme ils Voulurent). Seeing that they were not observed they tried to land among 
the rocks, and did it so diligently that they had already put a considerable number of men 
on shore before they were seen. (Poilly.) 

The W.S.W. winds drove the smoke of the cannon on shore, and in this they were 
favorable to the enemy, nevertheless of the first boats which entered the Coromandiere 
there were a score destroyed by our artillery. One noticed that the others curved toward 
the second division with the exception of five or six which through fear or through a 
knowledge of the ground went into the cove Nid de Pie twelve or fourteen yards across in 
sand surrounded by steep rocks situated between the Coromandiere after Sandy Cove and 
Flat Point, a place where there had been last year a detachment of twenty-five or thirty 
men, and this year none. Thus the first barges landed troops without opposition and the 
first success drew on the others. (Drucour.) 

Capricieux. At four o'clock in the morning, a little before the enemies made a general 
attack in Gabarus, all (of them) who appeared before the entrenchments were driven back, 
but the second line of the forces which had attacked the Coromandiere seeing the first 
repulsed drew off to the left, and having found a ravine got on shore there, some boats of 
the first line followed them. 

Jeuly 8 a 4 heures du matin un peu avant les enemies ont fait une ataque gdneYale 
dans Gabarus, tout ce qui s'est presente devant les retranchements a t repousse, mais la 
seconde ligne de troupes de dibarquement qui avoient ataqud la Coromandiere voyant la 
premiere repousee a fi!6 sur la gauche, et ayant trouv6 un ravin y a mis pied a terre, quelques 
barges de la P re ort suivis. (Tourville of the Capricieux.} 

They advanced their barges towards two large bays. . . . The English maintained 
their attack a long time without being further advanced than the loss of a great number 
of men, and without being able to force the retrenchments. A struggling barge that in 
appearance had been repulsed from the bays discovered a small creek, where two boats 
could enter at the same time. This creek was on the left of the regiment of Artois, and 
through negligence was left without a guard, although it was so surely comprehended in 
the general plan of defense the year before that in the summer of 1757 I was posted there 
with a detachment. . . . This barge gave a signal to the others to follow, and at last they 
all slipped away from the two bays (Coromandiere and Flat Point) without being remarked 
by the French in their retrenchments until several thousand of English soldiers had been 
landed and drawn up in battle array, having cut off the regiment of Artois from the rest 
of our troops. Johnstone (Que. Lit. and Hist. Soc.). 






No. of 

No. of 



Sailed from 






Hon. Adi. Boscawen 

Phil. Afflick 

15 . 2. 1758 

Matw. Buckle 


Portsmouth * 

In No. America 

23d from 

under the 


Royal William . 



Sir Chas. Hardy 

Wm. Dumaresq 


commd. of the 
Honble. Adi. 

Thos. Evans 


Prs. Amelia 



Commre. Durell 

Wm. Hall 



John Bray 


Dublin . 



G. B. Rodney 

Jams. Worth 

16. 3 . 1758 

In No. America 


Terrible . 



Rd. Collins 

Wm. Chads 

16 . 4. 1757 

under the 





Rt. Hble. Ld. Colville 

Edwd. Thornborough 

16 .4. 1757 

- command ol 


Orford . 



Rd. Spry 

Ridgwl. Sheward 

16 . 4. 1757 

Vice- Adi. 



Somerset , 



Edwd. Hughes 

Robt. Mortimer 

12.7. 1757 

Gone to No. 






Robt. Swanton 

Humphy. Rawlins 



Burford . 



Jas. Gambier 

Thos. Pemble 

23 2. 1758 




Captain . 
Bedford . 



Hble. G. Edgcumbe 
Wm. Gordon 
John Amherst . 
Thorpe Fowke 

Thos. Barker 
Salkd. Jno. Proctor 
Saml. Spendlove 
Lews. Davies 

2 3 . 2. 1758 

29 . 6 . 1757 

2O . I . 1758 
23 . 2 . 1758 

Gone to No. 
America under 
the commd. ol 
Honble. Adi 


Gr. Frederick . 



Robt. Man 

Jno. Gordon 

29 . I . 1758 


Defiance , , 



Patk. Baird 

Heny. Phillips 

2-5- 1757 



Pembroke . 



Jno. Simcoe 

Geo. Allan 

2 3 . 2 . 1757 





Hugh Pigot 

Thos. Fitzherbert 

30 . I . 1758 


Kingston . 



Wm. Parry 

Wm. Cock 

16.4. 1757 

In No. America 


Pr. of Orange . 



Jno. Fergusson 
Saml. Marshall 

Jno. Jarden 
Wm. Bunyan 

23.3 . 1758 
23 .2 . 1758 

under the 
command ol 





Capt. Rous 

Isah. Hay 

6.4. 1756 

Honble. Adi. 

from Cork 


Centurion , . 



Wm. Mantell 

Jno. Barnsley 

16 .4. 1757 

Hoses wen. 





Jno. Vaughan 

Chas. Wood 

29 . i . 1758 





Alexr. Schomberg 

Jos. Norwood 

14. i . 1758 


Boreas . 



Hble. Rt. Boyle 

Jno. Bernard 

21 . I . 1758 





Jno. Lindsay 

Patk. Calder 

23 .2 . 1758 


Shannon . 


1 60 

Chas. Medows 
Paul H. Ourry 

Jno. Mann 
Thos. Piercy 

23 . 2 . 1758 
23.12. 1754 




1 60 

Robt. Bond 

Thos. Ellis 

25 . I . 1758 




1 60 

Robt. Routh 

Robt. Carpenter 

24. 9 . 1757 


Squirrel . 


1 60 

Jno. Wheelock 

Crean Percival 

15 . i . 1758 




1 60 

Maxm. Jacobs 

Lewis Gordon 

23 . 2 . 1758 


Gramont . 



Jno. Stott 

Petr. Baskerville 

IS . 2 . 1758 



10. 14 


Jno. Laforey 

Jno. Sharpe 

25 . I . 1758 





Robt. Hathorne 

Wm. Denne 

16.4. 1757 





Wm. Goostrey 

Hy. Ashington 

23 . 2 . 1758 






Geo. Balfour 

Wm. Bloom 

23 . 2. 1758 





Davd. Pryce 

25 . I . 1758 



Eighteen of these Captains had served as recently as 1757 in American waters. 



Commanding Officers on the Expedition against the Fortress of Louisbourg 

Major-Gcneral JKKFRY AMHKRST, Commandcr-in-Chicf of His Majesty's Forces. 
Brigadier-General RDW\RD WHITMORK. Brigadier-General CHARLES LAWRHNCK. | Brigadier-General JAMKS WOLKK. 
Train of Artillery commanded by Colonel GEORGE WILLIAMSON. 
Chief Engineer Colonel JOHN HENRY BASTIDE. 
Rangers commanded by Lt. -Colonel SCOTT. 

3 I!J l' uc 1 UE H 


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Modern Name. 



Royal Scots (Lothian Regt.) 
East Yorkshire Regt. 
Leicestershire Regt. . 
Cheshire Regt. .... 
ist Batt. Gloucester Regt. 
Royal Sussex Regt. (ist Batt.) . 
Prince of Wales' Volunteers (South L 
ist Batt. Sherwood Foresters (Derbys 
Loyal North Lancashire Regt. (Wolfe 
ist Batt. Northamptonshire Regt. 
2ml Batt. Northamptonshire Regt. 
King's Royal Rifle Corps . 
King's Royal Rifle Corps . 
The Seaforth Highlanders 




Effective total 

..'". "5 . "t "c -" 
C | .-" JS J - J e .- 

- r ^ss z 3. s s.^g 





u u 

O O 

U C 

.S o 






Supplied. Expended. 

Canon .... 88 13 

Mortars .... 52 I 

Howitzers .... 6 8 

Shot .... 45,86i 14^30 

Shells and carcasses . . 41,962 339 
Grenades .... 4000 

Powder bbls. . . . 4888 1493 

Sand-bags . . . 115,000 39,5oo 

Cartridges .... 53,513 3>23 

Musket .... 726,756 750,000 

Fuzes .... 45,261 I 4) II 9 

It may be noted that only in musket cartridges was the supply short. In other things 
only about one-third of the supply was used. The above statistics are from Gordon's 

No such accurate figures are available for the French forces in Louisbourg. They 
seem to have been : 


Guns. Men. 

Prudent . . . .74 680 

Entreprenant . . .74 680 

Capri 'deux . . . .64 440 

Cltebre / . . . .64 440 

Bienfaisant . . .64 440 

Apollo . . . .50 350 * 

Ar&thuse .... 36 270 

Fidtte . . . -3 2 7 

Chh)re . . . .16 150 

Biche . . . .16 150 

494 3 8 7 


Artois ...... 520 

Bourgogne ...... 520 

Cambis ...... 680 

Volontaires Etrangers . . . .680 

Compagnies D6taches .... 1000 

Gunners 120 


There was an overwhelming superiority on the side of the attack, demonstrating the 
value of fortifications, which in this case were neither well placed nor substantial. 

1 The complement of the four smaller ships have been estimated. 


THERE was great caution displayed by the British leaders in carrying out their 
careful preparations. The site of the camp was the same as in 1745. It was 
now strongly entrenched. Blockhouses or other protective works were erected : 
three on the west side, another to the north, and a fifth on the Mire road, 
beyond which was placed the camp of the Rangers. These works were to 
protect the army from the attacks of the Indians and irregulars, and to prevent 
such disturbance as had befallen other British commanders in American warfare. 
Similar works, three in number, were placed on the other side of the camp, to 
guard against operations from the town, and to make secure a way to the site 
of the batteries for its bombardment. 

Louisbourg was open to attack from both land and sea ; on the latter side, 
success involved the destruction of the Island Battery, and the men-of-war in 
the port. It may be recalled that Warren strongly expressed the opinion that 
it would be madness, even when there were no ships in the port, to attempt to 
force a passage past the Island Battery. It follows that, until this battery and the 
French ships were reduced to defensive inefficiency, the function of Boscawen's 
fleet was that of an adjunct to the land forces. 1 * 

When, however, a way into the port was made clear, or, by a desperate 
coup de main, it was forced, the town, scantily protected on this side, was doomed, 
without one shot having been fired against its walls. Equally, a destruction of 
its land defences would place the men-of-war in the harbour in a cul-de-sac 
between the guns of the conquered town, the batteries which had reduced it, and 
the hostile fleet waiting at the harbour mouth. It is obvious that carrying on, 
together, both attacks, would expedite the fall of the fortress, but the only 
means of attack on the ships, and the Island Battery, was by artillery on the 
Lighthouse Point. The reports of Hardy's frigates, and the result of a night 
expedition sent on June 2 to discover the enemy's strength to the eastward, gave 
Amherst reason to believe that the landing-places were then occupied, and that 

1 Attention is directed to the large map of the siege operations. 
2 For its great importance see Logs of the Fleet, Wood, Champlain Society. 



to some degree, on a landing on that side, the attack on the Coromandiere would 
have to be repeated. 

Not only was there this operation to face, but when hostilities actually 
began, there were five men-of-war and one frigate in the port to supplement the 
land defences of the French. These ships of the line mounted twice as many 
guns as the shore batteries. Their crews, if fully manned, 1 equalled three- 
quarters of the troops and militia. Their mobility added greatly to their 
powers of offence. Boscawen's and Hardy's ships kept them, it is true, in the 
harbour, but it afforded safe anchorage for the largest of them within four or 
five hundred yards of the places on the shore where any effective batteries could 
be erected. The power of the ships to impede the siege operations was fully 
recognized by the British, 2 but that power of the fleet was minimized by the 
independence of its commodore. The regulations of his service made necessary 
the Governor's permission for him to leave port. He had to consult with 
Drucour, but in other respects he disposed of his ships at his discretion. 

The weather continued bad, 3 and there was great delay in landing materials. 
It was the i6th before a moderate reserve of twelve days' provisions was landed, 
and no heavy artillery had yet been put on shore. On the nth some 6-lb. 
guns were landed ; on the i8th the first 24-lb. gun ; as late as the 3rd of July 
we find in Boscawen's journal that they were still landing stores, so that it was 
a month before all the materials and guns were transferred from the ships and 
transports to various points on the shore. 

These preliminary works of encampment and defence seemed so important 
to Amherst that he did not, until the iyth, personally look over the ground. 
He, then, accompanied by Bastide and McKellar, chief and second engineers, and 
Williamson, in command of the artillery, rode out toward the citadel. 4 The 
tone of Amherst's remarks indicates that he was not entirely in accord with 
Bastide, who, Amherst says, "was determined in his opinion of making 
approaches by the Green Hill, and confining the destruction of the ships in the 
harbour to the Lighthouse Point and the batteries on the side." 5 

In the meantime operations had been begun under the command of Wolfe. 
The first deserters, a sergeant and four men of the Volontaires Etrangers, came 
in on the loth, and with false information as to the spirit of their regiment, told 
the truth in informing Amherst that the detachments to the eastward had been 
called in, and the Grand and the Lighthouse Batteries destroyed. This 

1 There was, however, much sickness among their men, and in some cases at least they were below their full 

2 " The opinion of most people here, sea and land, who had a terrible notion of their broadsides " (Wolfe Hist. MSS. 
Com. ix. p. 76). 3 See logs of ships for weather conditions. 

4 The ground was familiar from 1745 to Bastide, who since then had served at Port Mahon. 
6 Amherst to Pitt, June 23, C.O. 5/53. 


determined the place at which to begin. Four hundred Rangers, as an advanced 
guard, started at two in the morning of June 12. Wolfe, with his force, 1220 
men drawn from all the regiments, and four grenadier companies, 1 in light 
marching order, 2 set out at five. 

The weather favoured them. They marched round the harbour in a fog 
so thick that they could not see the men-of-war, although they were so near 
that they " heard very plain the noise they made on Board in the course of their 
duty." Unseen and unheard by the ships, they escaped cannonade, and by the 
late afternoon had visited Lorembec and made two encampments, one under 
Major Ross at the head of the North East Harbour, and another, the main 
camp, under Wolfe by the Lighthouse. 3 They found in the French camps the 
tents still standing, the cannon useless, and a considerable quantity of tools. 
They opened the entrenchments so that the artillery, which was being sent by 
sea to the camp, could be landed. While these things were being done, the 
Rangers returned to the main camp. It was found when the Island Battery 
opened fire on them the next morning (ijth) that it reached Wolfe's camp 
which was, therefore, moved back to a place of more security, and the work of 
making roads to the sites selected for batteries was vigorously pushed on. Wolfe 
was now, for the first time, in command. His orders show the vigour of his 
actions, the care he took not only of the health but of the comfort of his men, 
his judiciousness not only in equalizing duties but in the rewards of rum and 
fresh fish he gave to those who had worked hard. Their tone inspired his men, 
and his reputation for fearlessness and activity soon spread from this detachment, 
not only throughout the army but even to the French. 

The latter had been busy on their side with results which made a greater 
show than those of the English. The latest landed companies of Cambis 
arrived in the town on the 8th. Duchaffault was warned, by an express 
overland, not to attempt to gain Louisbourg. Hardy had taken his position, 
on the loth, close to the harbour-mouth to prevent any vessels slipping out, 
but the Bizarre to Quebec, and the Comete carrying news to France, successfully 
eluded him. The Echo, which sailed on the I3th was, however, pursued and 

Drucour's forces and materials were complete. It was his duty with them 
to save the town, or at worst to delay its capture to the latest possible day. 
He had made the repulse of landing the vital element of his defence ; when 
it failed he felt the town was lost. 

Those of Otway's, Hopson's, Lascelles', and Warburton's. 3 " The officers must be content with soldiers' tentt." 

3 A few shot were fired on them from the Island Battery. 




" This unfortunate occurrence which we had hoped to overcome, casts dismay and 
sorrow over all our spirits, with every reason, for it decides the loss of the colony ; the 
fortifications are bad, the walls are in ruins and fall down of themselves, the outer defences 
consist only in a single covered way which, like the main works, is open and enfiladed 
throughout its length ; everything predicts a speedy surrender. What a loss to the State 
after the enormous expenses made by the King for Isle Royale since 1755 ! " 

" Get eVenement malheureux qu'on espeYoit surmonter jette de la consternation et 
de la tristesse dans tous les esprits, avec d'autant plus de fondement qu'il decide de la perte 
de la colonie, le corps de la place est mauvais, les murs sont en ruines qui tombent d'eux- 
me"mes, les fortifications extdrieures ne consistent que dans un simple chemin couvert qui 
est donn et enfil de partout ainsi que le corps de la place, tout annonce une rdition 
prochaine. Quelle perte pour 1'Etat apres les defenses im menses que le Roy a faites pour 
1'Isle Royale depuis 1755 !" 

At five the next morning (9th) a council was held at the Governor's 
house. Its members were the officers of the place, of the Battalions, and of 
the principal ships. Des Gouttes, the Commodore, demanded permission to 
take his ships out of the port as they were of little use. He said that his 
action was founded on the repeated demands of his Captains, made to him 
in writing. 1 Des Houlieres and Prevost were the only land officers who, at 
the council, sided with Des Gouttes and his Captains. The result of the 
council was that the ships were to remain and hold the harbour against 
Boscawen. 2 Most of the opinions were like Drucour's, that the place was 
doomed. D'Anthonay alone said that, notwithstanding its bad condition it 
might be saved. 3 

With such a spirit the defence began, but while hopeless, the efforts of 
the French did not lack vigour. Five companies of Rangers were formed 
from the townspeople. The demolition of buildings and of the limekiln near 
the Dauphin Gate was carried on, skirmishes took place, and three officers, 
the seniors of whom were the two Villejouins, were sent with a dozen soldiers 
and seventy Acadians to the Mire, to join sixty Acadians who had arrived 
there from Isle St. Jean. They had orders to remain in the woods and harass 
the enemy. A sally of three hundred men was made on the I3th, which, 
although repulsed, did some damage. After false alarms on the night of the 
1 4th, based on a report that the enemy was marching in three columns on 
the town, Vauquelin anchored the frigate Ar&thuse broadside to the Barachois 
to rake the enemy should it appear within range. 4 In this position she 

1 Tourville, of the Capricieux, says that Des Gouttes asked for their opinions at a preliminary meeting, in writing 
and at once, " par 6crit et pr^cipitamment." 

2 There can be no question of the soundness of this view. The Island Battery was made almost useless by the 25th 
of June. Had Des Gouttes and his ships gone out, Boscawen would have come in and destroyed the town at once. It 
was approved at headquarters. A.N. B, vol. 107. 

3 These letters are at the end of Drucour's Journal, A.N. Am., du N., vol. 10, Prise de Louisbourg. 
* His position is marked by an anchor on Plan I. 


commanded, through a depression in the land, a wide extent of the ground 
over which any advance against the town had to be made. 

Further efforts at defence were completed by work on the walls, the 
establishment of shelters to prevent the raking of them, the necessity for 
which had been pointed out by Drucour, and much of the powder was 
removed from the citadel to the ice-house and limekilns outside the eastern 
walls. These buildings were protected by hogsheads of tobacco " that was 
in great plenty in Louisbourg, from the English prizes, brought there by the 
French privateers (Johnstone)." l 

Wolfe continued work at his roads and batteries, being supplied with 
guns and materials, by sea, in boats and lighters. These were protected by 
a frigate and sloop, which were attacked by an armed chaloupe, with two 
24-lb. guns, which did not interrupt the work, although it caused some damage 
to the nearest frigate (i4th). The work was pushed on, but it was not until the 
night of the i9th-2Oth that fire was opened. The reputation of the French 
army made the besiegers act with caution. Sentinels were posted to overlook 
the harbour. The troops were cautioned against surprise. Although Wolfe 
stated in his orders that he thought an attack was scarcely possible, when he 
was ready to open fire, a plan of defence against a boat attack had been 
perfected. A strong detachment was moved out from the main camp, the 
Rangers occupied the ground between it and Ross's post, at the head of the 
North East Harbour, and a system of signals and bonfires was arranged, 
not only to give warning, but to deceive the enemy as to the strength of the 
position. The fire of Wolfe's batteries was brisk, and as briskly returned by 
the Island Battery and ships. Ross's post was strengthened by guns on the 
shore, Wolfe's at the Lighthouse was added to, and under fire from the ships 
a new battery was begun at the head of the harbour (June 23). They were 
too distant from each other to do damage, and two new batteries were later 
erected, which, firing over the Grand Battery, reached the shipping. Wolfe's 
works had now covered much more than half way round the harbour from 
the Lighthouse. Its batteries kept up a fire on the island, which on the 25th 
seemed much shattered. The besiegers surmised rightly, from its firing only 
shells after four on that afternoon, that its guns pointed towards the active 
enemy were disabled, so the British fire on it was reduced to an occasional 
shell for the purpose of retarding the work of reconstruction. 

The battery at Rochefort Point was used to supply its place, and the 
men-of-war fired constantly, but with little effect. The engineers of the town 
did their best to make repairs to these most important guns on the island. 

1 So large was this quantity that notwithstanding its free use as protection for the men-of-war and buildings, after the 
capitulation Amherst sold a part of what was found in the town for 1500. Amherst to Pitt, Aug. 30. 

40 BO 

3 X 


' Shallow water 
breaks heavily 

Town of | 



Black Rock Pt. 

on JUNE soth, 1758. 

White Pt? 

Furlongs 01 

Scale of One Mile. 

o I 2 


A. Bienfaisant. 

B. Prudent. 

C. R*tr,Kr* 




E. Capricieux. i. Lighthouse Battery of 7 guns 

F. Position of same ships from zoth erected by Wolfe on igth June. 


A sally was made from the town on the i st of July, and the troops advanced 
towards the Grand Battery. The engagement was kept up for two hours. 
Then the French gave ground rapidly, and retreated to the shelter of the 
outposts, while Wolfe's force, which pursued them closely, had to retire under 
a heavy fire from the ships and the town. This gave him the advantage of 
fighting over ground he had already, June 30, intended to occupy. " When 
the cannon and mortars are placed in battery, the Brigadier proposes to carry 
one Establishment nearer to the Town, and to take possession of two Eminences 
not far from the West Gate." l 

At dusk, July i, he took possession of the mound he had coveted, and 
the next day, under heavy fire, his men at this advanced post skirmished with 
the French from cover, and succeeded in making the redoubt practicable, 
and carrying on other works, so that on the 5th, a battery of five guns and 
two mortars opened from this new position. 

Their fire was damaging to the town and the ships. It raked the walls, 
rising from the Dauphin Gate to the Citadel, and demolished the Cavalier 
at the Dauphin Bastion, which gratified one of Wolfe's many personal 

" You know I hold Mr. Knowles in the utmost contempt as an officer, and an engineer 
and a citizen. He built a useless cavalier upon the Dauphin Bastion which fell to my 
share to demolish, and we did it effectively in a few hours." 2 

The new battery damaged the town and the shipping with a fire to 
which, on account of the elevation, the latter could not successfully reply. 
The position also enabled Wolfe to send out a detachment every night, to 
hold the French pickets on the town side of the bridge over the Barachois. 
As up to this time these were the only operations which had produced the 
slightest effect against the defence, it is not to be wondered at that Wolfe's 
celerity became famous. None knew where or when he was to be found, 
but certain they were that " wherever he goes he carries with him a mortar 
in one pocket and a 24-pounder in the other." 3 

For the first four weeks events had not gone badly with the French. 
The Island Battery, it is true, had been destroyed, but the men-of-war amply 
protected the harbour. Not a gun, until the last few days, had been fired 
against the main works, and for a longer period the French were in doubt 
as to the place, in their defences, where the serious attack would be delivered. 
The elaborate approaches of the enemy were impeded by the fire of the 

1 Wolfe's Orders, June 30. 

2 His 

3 An 
the French. 

r olfe's Orders, June 30. 

1st. MSS. Com. ix. p. 76. Knowles, as Governor of Louisbourg, built this work in 1746. 

n Authentic Account, June 30. The writer attributes this saying to the " Garrison," which I take to 


until shells and grenades, from a battery erected for the purpose, drove her 
on July 6 from her position. Even in the camp of the enemy the French 
condition was not regarded as hopeless. Deserters came into the town with 
more or less accurate information as to the strength, the movements, and 
the projects of the force they had left (June 25 and 30). The troops were 
doing well. Their pickets held the ground beyond the outer works, and 
engaged in constant skirmishes with the outposts of the enemy. Sorties were 
made, siege material was brought in or destroyed, and the English harassed 
in their operations. In this desultory warfare, the soldiery was helped by 
the town militia, under command of volunteer officers of the garrison, and 
Daccarette, a merchant of the place. 1 

But in other respects Drucour's position was less satisfactory. The 
elaborate preparations of Amherst to protect his camp indicated how effective 
would have been a force of irregulars, particularly in the early days before his 
redoubts and entrenchments were completed. The Indians and Acadians did 
nothing, however, but capture wandering sailors, and rush, at intervals, a 
sentinel on outpost duty. News had come in on the 23rd, that Boishebert, 
the most famous of Indian leaders, had arrived at Port Toulouse, and from 
him and his forces much was expected. The Minister had sent to Drucour 
the Cross of St. Louis, to present to Boishebert, as a reward for his distinguished 
services, but he was a dreary and astonishing failure. He who, as a lad, had 
performed amazing feats of endurance and leadership, had driven back the 
New England forces at the St. John River, was useless at Louisbourg. 

Further embarrassments were caused by the action of the Abbe Maillard 
and his Indians. 

"We counted on that in all security (supplies of powder, ball and provisions sent to 
the Mir River for the use of the irregulars). But the Abb Maillard, Missionary Priest 
to the Indians in this Island and Head of the Missions, who was in town the day the 
English landed at Gabarus, having departed hence on the evening of the same day, out 
of precaution and care for his person, took with him for greater safety all the Indians who 
were here at the time ; and presumably he left Louisbourg in the firm belief that within 
a few days it would fall into the power of the English. At least we must piously think 
so, because of his conduct, for being accurately informed where the munitions and stores 
were placed, the Indians who accompanied him, with great care, took away the one and 
the other. His care should have been to prevent their doing so by his exhortations, the 
supreme power of a Missionary to the Indians, but once again we assume that he truly 
believed the colony was lost, nevertheless the number of years during which the King 

1 The elder Daccarette, Michel, was long settled in Louisbourg. His son, also Michel, was born there in 1730, 
married a daughter of La Borde, the treasurer of the colony, and was more likely at twenty-eight to be the leader of the 
irregulars than his father. The latter was a man of substance and exemplary life, although he had embroiled himself with 
the Church by marrying his deceased wife's sister, a marriage which was rehabilitated by the Bishop of Quebec under 
authority of a Bull of Pope Clement XII. Two of his daughters married officers. La Valliere and Denis. 

- r * attin f 'gb^ 

on JULY 3rd, 1758. 

Scale of One Mile 
Furlongs I 23456 

7 8 

White PtT 

Scale of Cables 

9 10 

A. Bitnfjiiant. 

B. Prudent. 

C. Entrtfrrnant} 

D. Celebrt \ Burned July 2 ist. 

E. Cafrideux 


F. Arithuu. 

3. Battery erected against this frigate. 

G. Works to destroy which batteries 

were erected at 4. 

H. Island Battery destroyed June * 
i. Wolfe's Battery, 
z. Battery of 6 guns and a mortar. 
5. Battery of two heavy mortars. 

To face page 271. 


has given him a stipend, the favours he has received from him in the form of a pension 
founded on a benefice, and those conferred on him by the head of the colony, should have 
been powerful enough to give him the thought that this store, in spite of his opinion, 
might be of use to his Majesty's service. However this may be, everything was carried 
off, and the Missionary, with foresight for himself, thought rather of securing abundant 
provision for his escort, than of the good of the state, and these are the reasons why it has 
been necessary to re-establish the stores and to have them sent by sea at infinite risk. 1 

" The conduct of the Missionary is remarkable ; not only should he have made every 
effort to prevent the stores being taken away, but, moreover, ought he not to have 
remained in the town ? His staying would have meant the Indians remaining also, 
and they numbered about sixty. 2 

The effects of the incapacity of these irregulars were negative. The 
attitude of Des Gouttes and his captains seriously weakened Drucour's defence, 
and caused him the gravest concern. Throughout his own restrained account, 
in the tone of his letters to Des Gouttes, in the comments he makes on events 
as they pass, one feels the serious situation. There breathe through his words 
the emotions of a man strong enough to be patient under the depression of 
fighting without hope, and yet not of the uncommon force which can impose 
his purpose on the unwilling and the backward. 

The view of the possibilities of the ships, already stated (p. 265), is 
not merely retrospective. Drucour says about the evacuation of the ships : 

" If it is carried out, it would have been as well, had they (the ships) not been here. 
Instead of that, such splendid floating batteries should have been in constant motion 
so as to prevent the besiegers establishing their batteries around the harbour and 
opposite the place." 3 

English and French accounts agree that the ships kept up a brisk fire ; * 
it was not effective at any time, and decreased, while that of Wolfe's batteries 
became more damaging as they gained positions of greater vantage. When 
the attack was begun the ships ranged in a crescent between the Batterie de 
la Grave and the Royal Battery. A night's fire from the lighthouse made 
them move nearer the town. A few days later they came nearer in, and 
finally on the 2nd of July they took positions so close to the town that in it 
fell shells which overpassed them. 

" The vessels U Entreprenant and the Clllbre have again approached so near the quay 
that both of them have risen about eight to ten inches higher at low tide, the Prudent 
is so near the angle of the batterie de la Grave that she is touching ground also." 

They were in water so shallow that three of them were aground. Des 
Gouttes renewed his request to leave ; proposed once to remain himself and 

1 This was accomplished by one Paris, a pilot of the town. 2 Drucour's Journal, July i. 

3 Drucour's Journal, July i. 4 Marolles says he fired 3500 shot from the Cilibre. 


defend the port, and let Beaussier's four ships sail ; gave orders, without 
Drucour's consent, to the captains of the Celebre and the Entreprenant to sail 
at the first favourable opportunity ; and gave only the assistance of a midshipman 
in securing the blocking of the entrance of the port. 1 He also prepared for 
the worst by arranging with his captains a signal on the display of which they 
should scuttle their ships. 

The climax of his unwillingness and incapacity was reached on the ist 
of July. Then the captains held with Des Gouttes a council, at which they 
discussed the evacuation of the ships, and in consequence Des Gouttes gave 
each of them a formal order to disembark their crews, leaving on board only 
a guard of twenty-five to thirty men. 

Prevost got wind of this before any one in the town. He hastened to 
Drucour, with whom he found at the moment Des Gouttes, Beaussier of 
the Entreprenant, and Marolles of the Celebre. Prevost addressed the 
Governor : " Have you asked, Sir, that the crews of the squadron should 
all land to-day in the town to reinforce your garrison ? " The Governor, 
surprised, answered that the idea had not as yet occurred to him ; then M. 
Prevost showed how prejudicial it would be to the King's service and to the 
safety of the place that these five vessels should be abandoned, and recalling to 
the memory of these gentlemen to whom the King entrusted their ships, his 
regulations of 1689, he asked whether they had received up to the present 
other losses than the death of two officers, a midshipman, two sailors, and a 
cabin-boy. He represented that with a guard of twenty-five to thirty men in 
each, of which the enemy might be informed through deserters, he (the enemy) 
would arrive with barges and carry them off in the night, and that then the 
King's own ships would destroy and reduce his town. 

"That rather than abandon them they should be used to destroy the deadly works 
formed by the enemy and still being formed around the harbour and in the environs of 
the place. All these reasons decided the officers to return on board their ships. 

"Some remarks should be made on this so extraordinary conduct, first of all, that 
this evacuation of the ships was founded on a written statement (proccs verbal) of these 
gentlemen made in a council on board the Prudent, which written statement Monsieur 
Beaussier refused to sign to-day mid-day, though he was the moving power in the affair, 
for the reason that he held in his hand before signing, M. Des Gouttes' order. 

" In the second place that it was probably stipulated in the written statement that 
the evacuation of the ships should only be executed as a result of the Governor's request 
in order to have the crews as reinforcements to the garrison and to make sorties on the 
besiegers. There is a reason to believe that such are the terms of the written statement, 
since in Monsieur Des Gouttes' order to each vessel the crews are to be so employed ; 

1 Four ships were sunk on the z8th and zgth of June, the Apolhn^ Fidtle, CMvre, and the Pi He dt Saint Ma/o, 
and, on the 3oth of June, another. 


however, the Governor did not only not make the request, but he did not know that he 
was involved in the affair." l 

The return to the ships was temporary, for a request to Des Gouttes for 
150 men to assist in the work of the defence was taken as what must seem a 
pretext to land the crews. Those of the Cafricieux and the Bienfaisant were 
sent on shore on the 4th, although, on the 6th, Tourville, 2 for whom no work 
was found on shore, took his crew back on board to fire on Wolfe's new 
batteries. The crews of the other three ships were withdrawn on the 6th. The 
orders were in the following form : 


" In the evening of the 27th of June the English bombarded the Squadron, and the 
Capricieux received a small shell on her Forecastle, which notwithstanding every obstacle 
it mett with, went thro' both decks a lower deck beam, and bursting, sett her on fire, 
which was with much difficulty extinguished. As the Danger of the Squadron becomes 
each Day more evident by the increase of the Enemy's Bomb Batteries, I went immediately 
to consult the Governor upon the necessary measure to be taken to prevent the ships 
being blown up, and we determined to bring them as close to the town as we could and 
to moor them with 4 anchors each, so as to bring Broadsides to bear as much as possible 
on the passage j also that their powder should be landed, some few rounds excepted ; that 
they should put on shore as much of their Provisions as would subsist their Complement 
in case they should be totally evacuated with a reserve of 6 weeks for each ship ; that 
they should each raise Tents in such places as the Governors should appoint for the 
looping the seamen to be landed for the service of the Garrison : These articles having 
been well thought and agreed on with the Consent of Mr. Drucour, it is ordered that 
Mons. Beaussier de 1'Isle Capitaine de vaisseau du Roy, Commdnt. of the Entreprenant y 
shall conform thereto and cause the above orders to be put in execution with all the 
vigilance & exactness he is capable of." 3 

It seems probable that the drowned man was one of the executive officers, 
to whom a copy of Des Gouttes' letter was given officially. 

This happened while the ships were seaworthy, and practically undamaged 
by the fire against them, for there is mentioned in the Journals that up to this 
time only one shell had struck the Prudent^ on the 29th. The casualties were 
trifling : from the I9th of June to the 6th of July, two officers, a midshipman, 
and seven men were all that were killed on these ships. 4 

If these actions of Des Gouttes neither raised the indignation of Drucour 

1 Drucour's Journal, July z. 

2 So, Drucour. Tourville does not mention this, though his journal reads as if he were daily on his ship after this date. 
8 Bell MSS. 

4 The number of men put ashore : Prudent, 330 ; Entreprenant, 500 ; Celebrc, Capricieux, Bienfaisant, 660. Total,, 



high enough to take action against such incapacity, nor even adequately to 
express it in his account of these events, others were not so reticent. 

"To-day, the fourth of July, the vessels have just confirmed the idea which their 
unceasing bad manoeuvres had given to all. Can it ever be believed that five pieces of 
artillery, placed on an eminence, at less than a quarter of a league from the shore, could 
have obliged M. Desgouttes and his Captains to abandon their ships, leaving in each 
one a guard with two officers, which were to be relieved every four and twenty hours ? 
This, however, is the result of the council of war these gentlemen have held and dared 
even to execute, leaving shamefully their vessels in front of five cannon while they had 
three hundred to defend them with. ... If these commanders are treated according to 
the regulations, I believe their heads are in the greatest danger." 

"Aujourd'hui, quatrieme de Juillet, les vaisseaux viennent de confirmer 1'idee que les 
mauvaises manoeuvres qu'ils n'ont cess de faire, avoient donni d'eux a tout le monde. 
Croira-on jamais que cinq pieces de canon placdes a un petit quart de lieue de la mer, 
sur une montagne, ayent pu obliger Monsieur Ddgoute [sic] et les capitaines de ses 
vaisseaux de les abandonner ; ne laissant dans chaque, qu'une garde avec deux officiers, qu'on 
devoit relever toutes les vingt et quatre heures : c'est cependant le rsultat du conseil que 
ces messieurs ont tenu, et qu'ils ont bien os excuter, abandonnant honteusement leurs 
vaisseaux, devant cinq pieces de canon, tandis qu'ils en avoient trois cent quarante, pour 
les deTendre. ... Si Ton traite tous ces capitaines selon 1'ordonnance, je crois leurs ttes 
fort hazardes." x 

Johnstone confirms this : " It is true that all of them (the land forces) had the most 
sovereign contempt for the sea officers of the French squadron, which contempt their 
dastardly and base conduct justly merited." 2 

There was the sharpest of contrasts between the effectiveness of the ships 
of the line and that of the Arethuse, a frigate of thirty-six guns, commanded by 
Vauquelin. The land officers had nothing but praise for him. When he 
proposed to Drucour, now that he could no longer impede the English attack, 
that he should escape through their fleet and carry dispatches to France, Des 
Gouttes, present at the interview, gave his opinion that Vauquelin might still 
be useful at Louisbourg. To which Vauquelin replied : " Yes, by God, if you 
will give me one of your men-of-war of the line that are laid up doing nothing, 
you will see that I will do much more yet than I have done hitherto with 
the frigate." 3 

After the first days of July, Drucour's defence was weakened while the 
vigour of the attack increased. The advantages of Wolfe's new position have 
been pointed out. The first batteries brought into action were one of six 
guns, another of two mortars, specially directed against the Arlthme. This 

1 Arch. Nat. B 4 , vol. 80, f. 82. 

2 Quebec Lit. and Hist. Soc. znd Series. Tourville says DCS Gouttes' view was that seeing the ships could not 
silence Wolfe's batteries, it would save life to employ their crews on shore, to which Drucour consented (July 3). 
Tourville received orders at 1 1 P.M. He saw to his anchors and landed his crew. 

1 MS. relatifs a la Nouvclle, France, vol. 3, p. 480. See Appendix for biographical details on Vauquelin. 


made her position untenable, and on the 6th she withdrew. The testimony as 
to the result of her guns is unanimous. She had, although under-manned, 
seriously impeded the advances of the besiegers. 1 An elaborate and costly 
epaulement " about a quarter of a mile long, nine feet high and sixteen feet 
broad," had been erected to protect the workers from her fire. When she 
was driven away work was carried on more rapidly, so that by the loth Wolfe 
had completed a line of batteries from behind the Grand Battery to the slopes 
above the Barachois. His admirers, contrasting his activity with the slowness 
of the other Commanders, hoped that the most startling proof possible of his 
superiority as a leader might be given : 

"... he is very Alert, Lives as his soldiers and Acts with such Vigour that it is 
Expected by many that he will make a Breach at ye West Gate in a few days and Desire 
the Generals on ye Right to walk in." 2 

Notwithstanding the protection given to the French ships by cables, 
tobacco, and other materials, they were pierced by the nearer guns and began 
to suffer. 

On the 6th, the city was damaged from the shells thrown into it. The 
besiegers took as marks the spires of the principal buildings. One shell fell 
in the courtyard of the citadel, another in the ditch, and just before the fire 
slackened for the night, another exploded in the crowded hospital, killing the 
surgeon of the Volontaires Etrangers, and dangerously wounding two of the 
Freres de la Charite. Drucour, the next morning, sent a letter to Amherst 
proposing to set apart a place for the sick and wounded, which would not be 
fired on. An answer was not returned until the evening, as Amherst sent for 
Boscawen before replying. It was to the effect, as there seemed no place 
within the town where they might be secure, that under certain somewhat 
stringent conditions the sick should be placed on Battery Island, on one of the 
French men-of-war detached from the fleet, and anchored in the upper part 
of the harbour, or placed among Boscawen's fleet outside. Drucour felt that he 
could not accept this offer. The buildings which might have been used on 
Battery Island were in ruins, and to detach a ship, as an hospital, would 
apparently weaken their naval force. His own view was that the ship was 
useless as she was, but that this could not be thought possible by the English 
commanders. So the civilians, nearly four thousand in number, the soldiers off 
duty, the sick and the wounded, as well as the combatants, all in a town, the 
area of which was about 600 yards in one direction, and about 400 across, 
Jiad to undergo the fire of the besiegers from the lighthouse, which reached 

1 Vauquelin kept a man at the masthead to give directions to his gunners. 
2 An account of the expedition, etc., B.M. Add. MSS. 11,813. 

276 A SLOW ADVANCE 1758 

as far as the citadel, and from Wolfe's new batteries. In two days, the 6th 
and 7th, 125 or 130 shells and 60 or 70 shot had fallen in the town. The 
purpose of the enemy seemed in the early days of the bombardment rather to 
destroy the buildings of the town than its defence. 1 

This communication was not the first which had passed between the 
commanders. No summons to surrender had been sent, but early in the siege, 
choosing a way which would give most information to the messenger bearing 
a flag of truce, says the observant Tourville, Amherst sent a polite note to the 
Governor, and a present of two pineapples to Madame Drucour. An equally 
polite note was returned, and Drucour again displayed his lavishness by sending 
back some bottles of champagne (June 17 and 18). This promptly brought 
back again more pineapples, one at least of which was not good (Tourville). 
The present in return included some fresh butter, which indicates that the 
ordinary activities of life in the town had not been entirely suspended. Inquiries 
and replies as to the missing officers taken prisoners at the landing had been 
exchanged ; effects had been sent to them ; and never, said one diarist, was war 
carried on with more courtesy. 

During a truce many officers talked together. 

" The Sieur Joubert, Captain of a Company of Volunteers while the drummer was in 
camp, was visited at the Barachois, by an English lady, whom he thinks is his cousin, three 
officers introduced her to him, they offered him refreshment, he thanked them and made 
the same offer ; the lady asked for permission to pick a salad, this was accorded her '* 
(Anon., July 6-7 ). 2 

The slowness with which the town was invested surprised the French. 
They thought the army was deficient in good troops, as so long a time was 
spent in fortifying their camp and making roads. " The sluggishness (indolence) 
of the English General in approaching the city makes me think he expects 
reinforcements." This was the opinion of Tourville on June 22. The engineer, 
Poilly, ten days later speaks of the slowness of their approach as exhibiting a 
prudence beyond bounds (" Nous fait montrer d'une prudence plus que mesuree "). 

These are indications that this was owing to divided counsels. There was 
obviously a difference of opinion between Amherst and Bastide later than that 
on the i 7th. Amherst again writes on the 24th : 8 "Colonel Bastide remained 

1 As Amhcrst gave orders on July zz to fire at the fortifications rather than the buildings, it is probable that thit 
view of the French is correct. 

* Joubcr.'s relationship with the English lady must have been through some European connection. He wai one 
of the French officers who came to Isle Royale in 1750, after service in the regiments of Picardic and Grassin. He 
served in the old war in Bohemia, Bavaria, in the Rhine, and in Flanders ; received many wounds ; carried a ball from 
Raucoux, which could not be extracted, and at Langenfield was galloped over by the enemy's cavalry. He, some thought, 
should have commanded the irregulars instead of Boishebert. He served in the Windward Islands as Major in 1760^ 
and was ma Ic Governor of Marie Galante in 1763. 

s Letter of July 6, C.O. 5/55. 


fixed in his opinion of advancing by Green Hill." The first work was pushed 
in this direction until about the I4th of July, when batteries were traced out on 
the shore, between Cap Noir, still in the French possession, and the English 
redoubt which had been begun on the ist. It would, therefore, appear that the 
elaborate epaulement, to cover the depression which was open to the Arhhuse^ 
was not necessary ; nor were the trenches in the vicinity, for the attack was not 
made by Green Hill. Even if there had not been a change of plan, work, 
which in any case must have been slow, was drawn out by the adoption of 
European methods in road-making. " Instead of laying hurdles and fascines 
on the surface of this swamp the sod had been pared away injudiciously, which 
caused a miserable waste of time and materials." Boscawen's cart 1 was not 
apparently used, nor were sledges such as colonists employed to bring up their 
heavy guns in 1745. The expedients possible to those familiar with the country 
were not suggested, for smallpox ravaged the New England carpenters, the loss 
of whom Amherst regrets. 2 

Notwithstanding delays, the advance was steady, and no position once 
gained was afterwards lost. On the 9th, a sortie in force was made from the 
town to check the English advance on the right. Seven hundred and twenty- 
four men, under the command of Marin, Lieut.-Col. of Bourgogne, divided 
into two parties, left the town about midnight and advanced along the shore, 
They surprised the advance post of the English, who were asleep or careless, 
carried this with the bayonet, and followed the fugitives to the second line, where 
they found a detachment drawn up to receive their charge. The English broke 
under it, and left Marin in possession. 

The workmen he brought with him, began to demolish the entrenchment. 
The alarm was now a general one, supports came up from a detachment of the 
1 5th near at hand, daylight was near, and Marin accomplished little in the way 
of destruction, but led his forces back to the town in good order, bringing with 
him two officers and twenty-eight grenadiers as prisoners. The accounts of this 
sortie differ. 3 

1 Wolfe's orders mention on the 7th " a machine lately provided for that purpose," i.e. drawing guns from the Mire 
road to his battery. 

2 " Colonel Messervy and his son both died this day, and of his company of carpenters of 108 men, all but 16 in the 
smallpox, who are nurses to the sick, this particularly unlucky at this time" (Amherst to Pitt, June 28, C.O. 5/53). 
Knap says the Colonel's son, John, was buried on June 29. 

* It was stated that a good many of the French had been drinking. The French loss was 50/60 men and 2 officers. 
It seems certain that time was lost, and although all nocturnal movements are difficult, the alarm was the sooner spread 
to the British supports by the French having fired on the retreating foe, instead of having pursued them with the bayonet. 
Drucour's account is the most favourable to Marin and his men. Amherst admits that his men were taken by surprise, 
but claims that the result was not important. 

The casualties in this sortie on the English side were, Lord Dundonald killed j a Lieutenant of the I7th and 
Capt. Bontein of the Engineers taken ; 4 men killed, 12 missing, and 17 wounded (Amherst). 

The French loss was 50 or 60 men killed, and 2 officers (Drucour). Other figures are given in different journals. 

Lord Dundonald, the 7th Earl, was born at Paisley in 1729, served in the Scots regiment in the service of Holland 


The French tried to check the main attack. Small guns were erected at 
Cap Noir, and new cannon brought into position on the Queen's Bastion. The 
range was so long that their fire could not be effective. The condition of the 
walls was so bad that Poilly said that the fire of their own cannon would make 
in their own walls a breach for the English ; but to his superiors the need of 
replying, even ineffectively, to the attack seemed so urgent, that he was as one 
crying in the wilderness. The progress of the besiegers, which was satisfactory 
to them, and discouraging to Drucour, was still that of the left attack. New 
batteries were established, and bombs were thrown into the town, some days 
numbering as many as a hundred and twenty or thirty. The enemy carried 
stores from the eastern shore of the harbour to the Royal Battery unmolested by 
the ships. Their supineness made Drucour fear it would suggest to the 
English a project for cutting them out. 1 Fire was reopened on the Island 
Battery, and its wretched garrison had to seek shelter among the rocks, unable 
to defend themselves. On the night of the I5th the Arhhuse, having been 
repaired, slipped out of the harbour, was seen by the watchers of the Lighthouse, 
who gave signals to Hardy's fleet, which unsuccessfully pursued her. 

Wolfe's account of this episode is worth quoting, as an illustration of the 
power of the point of view. After saying that he had often been in much pain 
for Hardy's squadron in the rough weather it encountered, he goes on : "a 
frigate found means to get out and is gone to Europe chargt de fanfaronnades. I 
had the satisfaction of putting two or three haut-vitzer shells into his stern, and 
to shatter him a little with some of your lordship's 24 pound shot, before he 
retreated, and I much question whether he will hold out the voyage." 2 
When one knows that Vauquelin had impeded the progress of the siege for at 
least a fortnight, that Wolfe had erected a mortar battery for the purpose of 
dislodging him, that Vauquelin was a gallant man and a skilful sailor, Wolfe's 
reference to his escape shows a less generous spirit than that of Boscawen. 8 

The French, uninspired by any success of moment, disheartened by the 
ineffectiveness of the ships, and by the prompt restoration of the damage their 
guns inflicted on the works of the British, toiled on at a task which was 
patently hopeless. The discouragement shows at length in Drucour's Journal. 
On the 1 3th he writes : 

"The garrison becomes weaker from day to day, the ordinary fate of that of a besieged 
town, but this is an uncommon and special plight, it has no secure shelter for rest, so he:e 

returned to Scotland, and, after 1753, joined the I7th Regiment, and with it went to America in 1757, wintered there, 
and was Captain of the Grenadier Company of Forbes at the time of his death. (From note* for a history of the 
Cochrane family by Mrs. Parker). 

1 July 12. 

9 Hist. MSS. Com. ix. This was as bad a prophecy as Wolfe's at Halifax. The Arlthuu nude an extraordinarily 
rapid voyage, notwithstanding her condition. 3 See Chap. XV. 




the soldier who is on duty by day passes the night in the open, on the ramparts or in the 
covered way. He is overcome with weariness, nevertheless always shows good will which 
delights, but he cannot hold out. We estimate to-day a diminution of a quarter of the 
troops compared with the day of the landing." 

His weariness shows in this, for on the next page of his Journal he states 
the loss, which is one-third. 1 

A further step was made in advance on the i6th. Towards evening the 
French picket at the Barachois bridge was driven in. In the night, a body of 
troops massed just beyond it, rushed the position, entrenched themselves, and 
held the ground against a belated fire from the ramparts. This gave them a 
position about 200 yds. from the Dauphin Gate, which they held under the 
heavy fire of the walls. The trenches were extended, preparations for a new 
battery were made, 2 although the loss in officers and men was heavy. The spur 
was silenced, the Cavalier damaged, and the fire from the ships was much 
slackened. From the I9th of June, when fire from the Lighthouse began, to 
the 1 6th of July, Wolfe had extended batteries from the former point to ever 
closer quarters, and his men were at the latter time holding a position within 
250 yards of the walls. The forces he had at his disposal were not great, 
apparently never more than 2000 men. Amherst had apparently overruled 
Bastide. The main attack was erecting batteries which had not yet fired a gun, 
the nearest of which was more than three times as far away from the walls as 
Wolfe's advanced position. When the first of the batteries of the main attack 
were ready, a day or two later, their fire was directed against the Queen's 
Bastion and the southern side of the Citadel, from which it was separated by 
ground most difficult for troops to cross. Therefore, even if a breach had been 
made in that part of the walls, it would have been practically useless for assault. 
The fire of cannon and musketry from the walls was very hot. Officers and 
men in the trenches constantly fell before it, 3 and it was vigorously returned 
from the batteries above the Barachois. These mounted 16 guns and 2 
mortars. 4 The French heard the enemy at work, fired on them, and longed for 

1 On the 1 3th the muster was : 

The loss in killed am 

Artois . 
Bourgogne . . 
Volontaires Etrangers 
Colony Troops 

wounded up to the I2th : 
Officers. Soldiers. 

7 2 7 
6 55 
i 6 

4 17 
4 5i 

Volontaires Etrangers .... 



Battery Island 


A battery of heavy guns on the I7th. 


22 156 26 

* " 1 8 officers and men killed in trenches in 48 hours." 
4 Drucour says 4 mortars. 


a ship in the position of the Artthusc from which the enemy in their trenches 
would have been uncovered down to their shoes. The ships remained as they 
were, firing occasionally, but with direction so bad that on the i8th their grape 
fell among their own men in the covered way. Cartridges began to be scarce, 
also balls for their 24-lb. guns. Iron scraps were used in the mortars, English 
shot were picked up and fired back. Houses had to be torn down for wood to 
repair fortifications, and such work had to be carried on under a fire which 
swept not only the defences, but the streets of the town. The work of repairs 
and the fire of the town were kept up with spirit. A lieutenant, and a handful 
of men of the Volontaires Etrangers, seized an outpost in front of the trenches, 
and held it all the afternoon of the I9th, until at nightfall they were given 
orders to come in a gallant feat, but, like all that the garrison had done, of no 
avail. Amherst had not only his army, but the crews of the ships to draw on. 
As the fire drew nearer, and became more accurate, it the more incommoded the 
town. It was concentrated on the Citadel between eleven and two, when the 
whole garrison assembled there for dinner. 

Des Gouttes was being roused from his torpor as far as to make a promise. 
He had arranged for the Bienfaisant and another ship to move out so that 
they could fire on the advance works, to prepare for and support a sortie of 
1500 men in the early hours of the 2ist. He failed to keep his word for that 
night, but promised again for the 22nd. In the early afternoon of the 2ist, a 
shot struck the poop of the Celebre, which set off some cartridges stored there. 
The fire caught her mizzen mast, and the score of men on board were unable to 
check it. She swung so that sparks from her caught aft on the Entreprenant. 
While her men were working at this blaze, fire had been smouldering on her 
bowsprit. It broke out freely in a quarter of an hour, and she in turn set fire 
to the C:ipricieitXj unable to move. The Prudent escaped, for she was to wind- 
ward, the Bienfaisant by swinging on her cable. The enemy poured their 
heaviest fire on the ships, and on the boats plying between them and the town. 
The French speak quite calmly of this as an ordinary incident in warfare. It 
impressed more deeply some of the enemy. Gordon says, " in short, to 
humanity tho' an enemy, the scene was very shocking." Hamilton saw both 
sides of such occurrences and thus comments on them in his Journal : 

" About i A.M. (?) as I was patroling the heights in the neighborhood of the Camp over- 
looking the Town and harbour, I perceived a thick column of smoke and presently a great 
explosion announced some fatal accident, this proceeded from the accident, as I afterwards 
heard, of a shot from one of our batteries firing the powder magazine on board one of the 
French ships of war in the harbour. I was soon joined by some stragglers, among others 
our Chaplain, who highly enjoyed the scene, confounded the French &c. On our return 
to camp a great smoke arose from that part of the encampment where our Regiment lay. 




^ Shallow water 
/ breaks heavily 

.. -JOf 



Black Rock Pt. 

on JULY 27th, 1758. 

White Pt. 


Scale of One Mile. 
2 3 45 < 

Scale of Cables 


Miners U.LUST 

A. Bienfaisant, captured Z5th July. 

B. Prudent, burned 25th July. 


1. Battery 6 guns, zznd July. 3. Battery of 4 guns only used on July 26th. 

2. Battery mortars. 4, 5, 6, 7. Batteries firing on July 22nd. 


Oh, Lord, cried an officer, I am afraid our hospital is on fire, what will become of those 
poor fellows, lame and wounded. The sober divine exclaimed, I am afraid that idle rascal, 
my Cook, has set the hut on fire and my piece of beef will be burnt to ashes. It was not 
in effect so bad as either." 

The horror of the conflagration was increased by the loaded guns of the 
ships, as they became hot, going off and taking effect on the other ships, on the 
boats, and town. The ships made a prodigious blaze all night, and finally drifted 
with the tide to the Barachois shore, where they lay with their guns and iron- 
work tumbled into their holds. 1 As their flames died down, there must have 
sunk with them the hopes of the most optimistic of the defenders. The sortie 
was abandoned, nothing more could be done with exhausted troops than repair 
works, which before the siege began were known to be faulty in plan and 
hopelessly bad in condition, and to keep up a fire from their crumbling walls 
on an enemy with resources so superior that its advance could not be checked 
by any effort the defenders had made. This was done with spirit. The defection 
of the navy spurred the garrison to greater efforts and a stalwart endurance. 
Nor do we find any record of pressure to surrender brought on them by the 
non-combatants ; indeed, Madame Drucour daily walked the ramparts, and 
fired three cannons to encourage the troops. 

Thus far the storm which they had endured had been heavy. It now 
became a tempest. The batteries now on the 22nd playing against the 
town were : 

Gun Batteries. Weight of Metal. Mortar Batteries. Size of Shell. 

i of 7 32 and 24 

i 6 32 and 24 

" and I2 

Left attack, Wolfe's 

I 2 32 

i 2 24 i of 2 13 inches. 

U 2 12 i 2 8 

fi 8 24 i 3 13 and 10 

Right attack o 

U 5 2 4 J 4 

Total . 8 37 4 ii 

In addition there were great numbers of coehorns, royals, etc., 2 which during 
the day were added to by the erection of an advanced battery of four guns, and 
a mortar battery, which almost drove out the French from the covered way. 

About seven that morning a large shell fell in the barracks to the north of 
the belfry in the building, which closed, on the town side, the parade ground of 
the Citadel. It was thought to have done no damage, but about half an hour 
later a brisk fire broke out in the roof. The efforts made to stop it were 

1 Forty-seven guns were afterwards recovered. 2 Gordon, p. 139. 


unsuccessful, and all except the Governor's apartments at its southern end was 
destroyed. The English during this fire, which lasted five or six hours, showered 
bombs and ball with the greatest activity into this area ; nevertheless all the 
workmen of the garrison and the ship's carpenters gathered there and worked 
with uncommon courage and energy. Without both these parties the fire would 
have made greater progress. There was a sad and moving sight during this time. 

"The few casemates are placed in the inner part of the citadel, in them were shut in 
the ladies and some of the women of the town, and one was kept for wounded officers. 
There was every reason to fear that the fire would reach the protection which had been 
placed in front of these casemates, and by the direction of the wind the smoke might stifle 
the women shut up in them, so that all the women and a great number of little children 
came out, running to and fro, not knowing where to go in the midst of bombs and balls 
falling on every side, and among them several wounded officers brought out on stretchers, 
with no safe place to put them " (Drucour). 

"All the above-mentioned batteries played extremely smart the whole time it lasted'* 

The six-gun battery fired 600 balls that day, although three of the guns 
were dismounted by the fire from the walls, and remounted again. Three times 
in this wretched day did the wooden barracks in the Queen's Bastion, " as 
inflammable as a pack of matches," catch fire, and three times they were 
extinguished. All night long bombs, some of them charged with combustibles, 
were hurled into the town, and at daylight it was worse. The siege at length 
was conducted with fury. The works were suffering on the left and right, and 
while shells passed over their heads the soldiers in the covered way and in the 
trenches exchanged a continued fire of musketry. In the evening the barracks 
were set on fire beyond control. Little help was sent in the first hour, and 
later, only by pulling down the neighbouring huts and a favouring wind, was the 
fire prevented from spreading to the town. The next day, the 24th, there was 
no abatement in the bombardment. Deserters who came in to the camp said the 
townspeople had entreated the Governor to capitulate, and this inspired the 
artillerymen in the trenches with the hope that the end was near. The Dauphin 
defences were down, the gunners were driven from the artillery of the Citadel, 
but they managed to serve a few guns, the fire of which seemed to Drucour 
more like the minute guns at a funeral than a defence (" Qu'il ressemble plut6t 
a des honneurs funeraires qu'a une deffense "). 

Part of the English fire was directed against the walls, to make a breach, 
but the destruction of the town was the main object of the British, it seemed to 
Drucour (" II parolt aussi que leur intention n'est pas encore a battre serieuse- 
ment en breche, mais auparavent de tuer du monde et d'incendier la ville "). Fire 
now seemed concentrated on the hospital and the houses near it, all filled with 


wounded. 1 The breaching began seriously on the 25th. Franquet alone, of 
those who inspected it, thought its result did not yet make an assault practicable. 
The town was no longer defensible, and scaling ladders were ready in the trenches. 
The British had seen great pieces of the wall fall into the moat after every 
successful shot, and meantime the fire of the bombs, as many as 300 in a night, 
was continued, so that there was not a house in the town which was uninjured. 
There were only five cannon to reply to this bombardment two on the wall 
between the Dauphin Bastion and the Citadel, and three on its northern flank. 

The condition of the town was desperate, but the two battered ships were 
still in the harbour, and to some degree effective, or with possibilities of effect- 
iveness. No precautions had, however, been taken to afford them the extra 
protection needed after the burning of the others. They were now to fall, and 
with them the last hope of protracting the siege. 

The entrances of the harbour had been reconnoitred by Boscawen's orders, 
and the report of Balfour, Captain of the Etna fire-ship, being favourable, 
Boscawen determined to give the navy more special work than supplementing 
the forces on shore. During the morning of July 25, the larger boats, pinnaces, 
and barges of both squadrons were manned and armed. Those from the ships 
in Gabarus Bay went down to Sir Charles Hardy's station off the harbour mouth, 
in small detachments, in order not to attract the attention of the town. The 
boats were divided in two divisions ; the command of one was given to Balfour 
of the Etna, and of the other to John Laforey, Commander of the Hunter? 

The night was thick, and the expedition entered the harbour undiscovered. 
The division under Laforey was directed against the Prudent, which was anchored 
near the Batterie de la Grave, resting on the ground. The men on board, with 
the exception of the sentinels, were below decks ; the highest officers were ensigns. 
The sentinel hailed a boat. A voice from it replied in French that it was from 
the town, and coming on board. An officer mounted to the deck, saw all clear, 
called over the side, " Monte [sic] cinq ou six hommes." Before the French 
bluejacket suspected anything, there were two hundred men in possession of 
the deck. The officers were taken, guards placed on the hatchways, twenty 
English prisoners released, combustibles placed in the gun-room and at the 
foot of the masts, ignited, the sentries withdrawn, and the English made off to 
the north. The few shots that were fired aroused the town. Drucour hurried 
to the battery, and directed a fire of cannon and musketry on the ships. Within 
half an hour the midshipmen and the men, some sixty or seventy in number, 

1 Parkman has admirably paraphrased Drucour's account of the effect of this fire on the wounded and their attendanti. 

8 John Laforey was the descendant of a French Huguenot family settled in England in the reign of William III. 
In 1748 he became a lieutenant, was with Holburne in 1757, at Quebec in 1758, was made a Baronet in 1789, Admiral 
of the Blue in 1/95, and died in 1796. 


came ashore. The capture of the Bienfaisant was as expeditiously made. A 
short conflict took place. Seven of the assailants were killed, nine were wounded, 
before she was carried. Then she was towed by the boats of the squadron to 
the head of the harbour, and the port lay open to the British. The anonymous 
officer of the garrison comments thus on this disastrous event : ! 

"One is at first surprised to see two great ships letting themselves be taken by 
little boats, but one's astonishment diminishes when one knows that the officers and the 
crew (equipage) kept themselves hidden in the hold of the ships for fear of blows, that they 
had only a few men on deck to give warning. I do not undertake to say that all the ships 
did the same, but this is certain (mais ce qu'il a de sur) that most of them acted in the 
same way. It is claimed (on prdtcnd) that a naval officer is dishonoured when he hides 
himself a moment in the hold. On this principle what should one think of these gentlemen 
who were so long hidden there ? The officers on guard on the Prudent and their midshipmen 
were quartered in the boatswain's storeroom (la fosse aux lions) where they were so safe 
and comfortable (si en suret et si tranquilles) that the English were already masters of the 
ship before they knew anything about it, that there was only one officer got on deck before 
the English had placed sentinels on the hatchways. The others only came out when they 
were told to come up and surrender." 

The service of the naval officers on shore was equally condemned. 
Poilly says : 

" Our batteries entrusted to the naval officers were entirely abandoned, there was in 
them not even a lighted match (linstock) in readiness. We have received no help from 
this essential part of our forces. Their reasoning is as hard-hearted as their conduct. I 
should erase the word. It (their conduct) merits a greater scorn." 

When daylight came the bombardment was resumed. A new battery 
erected by volunteers, under Gordon, as was the one before this, was brought 
into play. The senior officers of the town inspected the fortifications, from 
which only three guns could play on the enemy, and met in council. Franquet 
held that the breaches were not yet practicable, and after hours of discussion 
it was decided to ask for a truce, in which terms of capitulation might be 
discussed. While this was going on, Boscawen was composing a letter to 
Drucour, directing him to surrender at discretion, acquainting him that he would 
this night be attacked by sea and land. 

" I went on shore and communicated this Letter to Major General Amherst, who 
approved of it, and was Sealing the said Letter when a Letter was brought to Us from 
Monsr. de Drucour, offering to Capitulate." 2 

Loppinot, who, in the glory of a new position and a new uniform, had been 
rowed in from the Tigre^ on June 29, 1749, to arrange the preliminaries of the 
return of Louisbourg to the French, was now, July 26, 1758, worn with the 

1 A.N. Marine, B 4 , vol. 80. * Bosc .wen's Jl. 


siege, conducted to the tent of Amherst, to tender Drucour's offer of capitula- 
tion. The reply of the victors was, that Drucour and his garrison, as a pre- 
liminary to a capitulation, must yield themselves prisoners at discretion, than 
which no surrender is more humiliating, and that only an hour would be given 
for their decision. 1 Drucour and his council were horrified at such hard terms. 
D'Anthonay was sent out to endeavour to obtain better. Whitmore, who com- 
manded in the trenches, refused to let D'Anthonay pass beyond, and would 
send no message from him to Amherst. The council resolved to stand the 
storming. While D'Anthonay was in the enemy's lines, the engineers were 
assembled to arrange some interior entrenchment in case of the place being 
carried by assault. As, in the defence of Gabarus, no rendezvous for the de- 
tachment had been arranged, so now no provision for failure had been made, 
and this new problem had to be faced on the spur of the moment. Franquet 
was in favour of the Princess Bastion, but it was pointed out to him that it 
would not hold 150 men, and a place was required for the whole garrison. 
The Brouillan Bastion on the Eastern walls was proposed, and visited, while 
there they were surrounded by so great a crowd of the townspeople that they 
could do nothing. D'Anthonay returned from the enemy's lines, unsuccessful, 
and Loppinot set forth with a letter to say that the town would submit to assault 
rather than accept the terms offered. Then Prevost presented a memoir to the 
council. It pointed out the hardships to the people, the discouragement to 
colonization, the difference between soldiers whose professional duty it was to 
face horrors, and civilians forced to undergo such terrors as awaited them. 
His view prevailed. D'Anthonay and Du Vivier overtook Loppinot with 
powers to capitulate. The news spread through the town. With whatever 
joy it may have been received by the populace, and the sick and wounded, it 
enraged and humiliated the troops. The attitude of the officers verged on 
sedition (" il y eut un mouvement violent parmi Les Officiers de la Garnison 
qui tendoit a la sedition "). Drucour was blamed for not surrendering two 
days earlier, when they could have obtained the honours of war, or for sur- 
rendering now when they could have held out for two days more. The men 
of Cambis, in rage, broke their muskets and burned their colours. 2 The 
capitulation was signed, the barriers to the Dauphin Gate were cleared, the 
bridge repaired. The vaulted roof of its gate rang the next morning to the 
tread of the advanced guard of the victors, the grenadier companies of the 
Royals, Hopson's, and Amherst's. At noon, the garrison laid down its arms. 
It had been " good, brave, and patient," and felt the humiliation to which its 
men were subjected. 

The terms were hard ; even Wolfe admitted this ; but the taking of 

1 The term was softened to prisoners of war. 2 Johnstone and Poilly. 


Louisbourg was the first important success in a war which had begun with 
Boscawen's high-handed action in 1755. He and Amherst determined to make 
the most of it, and bring back to Britain not only a long-deferred victory, but 
a striking one. 

Such was the course of events in this siege. The summing up of its salient 
features seems necessary to make clearer, than the foregoing narrative, the causes 
which produced this result. At first sight it appears that the overwhelming 
superiority of the British in men and material made the result a foregone 
conclusion. Careful reading of the documents leads to a modification of this 
opinion. While the fortifications were bad in design and condition, the 
resistance made by their defenders indicates that had they been seconded by the 
men-of-war with anything like the fervour of which Vauquelin displayed in fighting 
his frigate, the difficulties of the British would have been greatly increased. 1 

As the defection of the fleet was not sporadic, although the annals of the 
French Navy has perhaps no darker page than this, the next chapter deals with 
this subject at length. There was a fine spirit in the rank and file on both sides. 
There was on the British the stupendous advantage, rarely enjoyed, of complete 
harmony between the sea and the land commanders. Boscawen was on shore 
every day when it was possible to land. His men were drawn on to supplement 
the land forces, and the handiness and the celerity of the sailors seems to have 
been marked. 2 Whatever were the difficulties of the French, and they were 
many, it must be evident that no commanding officer on that side displayed the 
dash, the keenness, the military science of Wolfe, any more than that these 
qualities were shown by any other officer of high rank on his own side. Amherst 
stands as a shadow in the background, Whitmore and Lawrence seem to have 
done nothing but routine duty. Wolfe was the moving spirit of the attack. 
The table on p. 281 shows how many batteries he had erected, with his small 
force, compared with the two the right attack had brought into action up to 
that time, and that table does not include three other batteries, the usefulness of 
which was then overpast. It was, however, his leap into the surf among his 
men, his appreciation of their good actions, his tireless activity, that made a 
spirit almost invincible among the British. Had there been a Wolfe in command 
of the French, there had been a battle of the Titans. Harsh as are his comments 
on many of his associates, unlovely as were some aspects of his character, Wolfe 
was a great leader, and to his presence at Louisbourg the result was largely due. 
The comments of the diarists indicate that there were in the place men who 
chafed at what was done, even more at what was left undone, just as a year 

1 Wolfe's opinion was : " that, to defend the Isle Royale it is necessary to have a body of four or five thousand men in 
readiness to march against whatever force of the enemy attempts to land. In short, there must be an army to defend the 
island. . . . We must not trust to the place or to any of those batteries now constructed " (Hist. MSS. Com. ix. p. 76). 

8 The quickness with which they erected batteries was noticed. 


before Wolfe had been indignant with the incapacity and slowness at Rochefort. 
It must be admitted that the task at Louisbourg was difficult. Two-thirds of 
its whole force was required for manning the defences. Their troops had no 
secure resting-place, and were soon exhausted. The most difficult expeditions 
to manage are night attacks, and these required a moral which could not be 
expected from tired men, and yet these sallies were the most effective means of 
checking the advance. Much of the cannon fire from the walls did far more 
damage to the walls themselves than to the works of the besiegers. It was 
exhaustion again which prevented the French from utilizing the mortars they 
had, against the batteries, after they had once mounted them to protect the 
harbour. The difficulties which oppressed and overwhelmed Drucour were 
such as his character ill-fitted him to cope with. The tact, the high-mindedness, 
the generosity, which made him an admirable head of a naval school, were not 
the qualities best fitted for the rough work he had to do in Isle Royale. He 
naturally had no experience in land warfare. He had, indeed, mostly held a 
shore appointment ; and the engineer, and commandant of the troops, were both 
dull, and one a cripple. The quality of Drucour's mind, which makes one 
respect his memory, is his scrupulous fairness. He was Governor ; his reputation 
was at stake. He states every case fairly, he blames little, he emphasizes every 
good action, he minimizes every failure in his account of the siege. Rare and 
worthy of respect as is such a character, it must be admitted that it is not the 
temper of which successful commanders are made. 

The townspeople merit great praise. We have only the evidence of a 
deserter to show that they were eager for capitulation before the assault was 
inevitable and imminent. Daccarette's company, made up of the principal 
merchants, when the attack was so far advanced that they could no longer 
skirmish outside, took charge of the battery in the southern flank of the citadel, 
and served its guns with a brilliancy which surprised and delighted an observer 
(" ils ont surpris et charme "). Others of the bourgeoisie worked with the 
garrison in other batteries, undaunted by danger, and displayed the calmness of 
veterans (" avec autant de tranquillite que 1'homme du mondeUe plus aguerri " 1 ). 

Louisbourg was in extremities when Drucour surrendered. 

" Indeed when our ships came into the Harbour, there was hardly any part of it, which 
had not the appearance of Distress and Desolation, and presented to our View frequent 
Pieces of Wrecks, and Remnants of Destruction Five or Six Ships sunk in one Place with 
their Mast-Heads peeping out of the Water the Stranded Hull of Le Prudent on the 
muddy shoal of the other Side, burned down to the Water's Edge, with a great deal of her 
Iron and Guns staring us in the Face Buoys of slipped Anchors bobbing very thick upon 
the Surface of the Water in the Channel towards the Town a number of small Craft and 

1 Poilly. 

2 88 



Boats towards that Shore, some entirely under Water, others with part of their Masts 
standing out of it ; besides the stranded Hulls, Irons, and Guns of the three Ships 
burned on the list upon the Mud towards the Barrassoy and in the N.E. Harbour little 
else to be seen but Masts, Yards and Rigging floating up and down y and Pieces of burned 
Masts, Bowsprits, etc. driven to the Water's Edge, and some parts of the shore edged with 
Tobacco Leaves out of some of the ships that had been destroyed the whole a dismal Scene 
of total Destruction." l 

If this were the appearance of the harbour with the advantages of its 
effacing waters, the imagination can picture more vividly, than any written page 
can convey, the condition of the town. There was great outlay of materials in 
reaching the final conclusion of the siege. The loss of life was not, however, 
great : 195 of the British killed, and 363 wounded ; on the French side, accord- 
ing to De la Houliere, between 700 and 800 killed and wounded. 2 

A compilation of the troops on the eve of hostilities makes the total 3520. 
The French loss, therefore, was 411. 


Soldiers fit 

Sick and 


for Duty. 


24 Companies and 2 of Artillery . 





Artois, 2nd Batt. 





Bourgogne, 2nd Batt. . 





Cambis, 2nd Batt. 





Volontaires Etrangers . 





Total Garrison .... 


2 374 



Sea officers and seamen 






349 8 



Great stores of artillery and munitions of war fell, by the terms of the 
capitulation, as spoils of war. 

Hardy entered the harbour on the 3Oth. Boscawen came in on August I. 
The town was occupied. Arrangements were completed for the embarkation of 
the French troops and to clear the entrance of the harbour. 3 

The news of this victory, the first important one of the war, was received 
with great rejoicings, when Captains Edgecumbe and Amherst, on behalf of 
Boscawen and the General, arrived on the i8th of August. Comparisons were 
drawn between the attitude of the people when they heard of the fall of Port 
IVLihon and that with which they exulted over this success. Addresses were sent 

1 An Authentic Account. 2 To Minister, Aug. 6. 

3 Cambis and Artois and some seamen on the Burjord ; Bourgogne and Vol. Etrangers and some seamen on the 
King iron ; the Companies on the Northumberland; the Naval Officers on the Dublin; Drucour, his lady and retinue, and 
forty officcrt on the Terrible. These ships sailed about Aug. 14/15. The other prisoners and inhabitants were embarked' 
as rapidly as possible. Some of them were fortunate enough to go directly to France for exchange, among them De 
Gouttes, who did not deserve this good fortune. 


to the King from the Universities and the principal towns of the kingdom. The 
colours taken were deposited in St. Paul's. (These have disappeared.) 

Wednesday^ 6. 

" Whitehall. The king having been pleased to order the colours taken at Louisbourg^ 
which were lately brought to the palace at Kensington^ to be deposited in the cathedral church 
of St. Paul; proper detachments of horse and foot grenadiers were ordered to parade at 
Kensington at ten o'clock, and marched before his Majesty in the following order : 

"A serjeant, and twelve horse grenadiers. 

"A field officer, and officers in proportion. 

" A detachment of fourscore of the horse grenadier guards. 

" Then eighty of the life guards, with officers in proportion, with their standard, kettle 
drums and trumpets. 

" Then a serjeant and twelve grenadiers of the foot guards. 

"Then eleven Serjeants of the foot guards carrying the eleven French colours, advanced. 

" Then the four companies of Grenadiers of the foot guards closed the march. 

" In this manner they proceeded from Kensington^ through Hyde Park, the Green Park, 
into St. James's Park, and through the Stable yard St. Jameses, into Pall Mall, and so on 
to the west gate of St. PauPs, where the colours were received by the dean and chapter, 
attended by the choir ; about which time the guns at the Tower and in St. James's Park 
were fired. 

" These colours are put up near the west door of the cathedral, as a lasting memorial of 
the success of his majesty's arms, in the reduction of the important fortress of Louisbourg, 
the islands of Cape Breton and St. John." London Gazette. 

When Boscawen returned, the rejoicings broke out again. He received an 
address, when he took his seat in the Commons, and an address was also sent out 
to Amherst, conveying the thanks of Parliament for their achievement. 

The rejoicings in the colonies were no Jess widespread. All grasped the 
significance of the victory. 2 

Drucour had saved Canada for the year. It had been decided by Amherst 
and Boscawen that it was too late to go up the St. Lawrence. While they were 
engaged in removing the army into the town, and sending away the prisoners, 
the news came to them, August I, of the defeat of Abercromby at Ticonderoga. 
It determined Amherst to hasten to his assistance. British troops were sent to 
Halifax on the I5th ; Amherst himself sailed to Boston on the 3Oth, and landed 
there on September 13. Meantime, expeditions were sent out to the Bay of 
Fundy, to Isle St. Jean, under Lord Rollo of the 22nd Regiment, and to Gaspe 
and other French settlements on the Gulf, under Wolfe. 3 The last was, like 

1 Gentleman's Magazine, 1758, vol. 28, p. 447. 

2 The Last Siege of Louisbourg, C. Ochiltree MacDonald, London, Cassell & Co., contains many interesting details of 
these rejoicings. 

8 See Appendix for an account of this expedition from the unpublished Bell MSS. lent me by Dr. A. G. Doughty. 



Spry's in 1757, a pillaging of unarmed people, which excited the disgust of 
Wolfe ; that to Isle St. Jean resulted in the deportation to France of 3540 people. 
This number added materially to the task of providing transport, so that it is not 
until the end of September that Boscawen's journal ceases to include items as 
to the sailings of transports. Boscawen left on October i, and reached the 
Channel a month later, and Durell, promoted to be a Rear-Admiral, took charge 
of the fleet left in these waters. The garrison left in Louisbourg consisted of 
Whitmore's, Bragg's, Hopson's, and Warburton's, under command of Whitmore. 
The salient point in the letter in which Amherst encloses Whitmore's appointment 
as Governor, is Amherst's opinion of the island : l 

" I would have the settlements in the different parts of the island absolutely destroyed, it 
may be done in a quiet way, but pray let them be entirely demolished, & for these reasons, 
that in the flourishing state it is growing to, many years wd. not have passed before the 
inhabitants wd. have been sufficient to have defended it." 2 

The next year, 1759, Louisbourg was the base from which sailed the 
expedition against Quebec. It gathered there in May, and sailed for the 
St. Lawrence on the 6th of June. 

The possibility of its being given back to France was before all. Pitt, 
however, unshaken in his determination to break the maritime power of France, 
and to make it impossible for her to prosecute the fisheries, decided to make the 
return of Isle Royale to France, if it should be given back again by diplomacy, 
a barren one. He wrote to Amherst : 

"WHITEHALL, February yth, 1760. 

"SiR, I am commanded by His Majesty to acquaint you, that after the most serious and 
mature Deliberation being had, whether It be expedient to maintain, at so great an Expence, 
the Fortress at Louisburg, together with a Numerous Garrison there. The King is come 
to a Resolution, that the said Fortress, together with all the works, and Defences of the 
Harbour, be most effectually and most entirely demolished ; And I am in consequence 
thereof, to signify to you His Majesty's Pleasure, that you do as expediously as the Season 
will permit, take the most timely and effectual Care, that all the Fortifications of the Town 
of Louisburg, together with all the Works, and Defences whatever, belonging either to 
the said Place, or to the Port, and Harbour, thereof, be forthwith totally demolished, and 
razed, and all the Materials so thoroughly destroyed, as that no use may, hereafter, be ever 
made of the same. You are not, however, to demolish the Houses of the Town farther than 
shall be found necessary towards the full and entire Execution of the Orders for totally 
destroying all, and every, the Fortifications thereof; And in the Demolition of all works, 
You will particularly have an Eye to render, as far as possible, the Port, and Harbour, of 
Louisburg, as incommodious, and as near impracticable, as may be. 3 

1 Aug. z8, C.O. 5/53. 

a Whitmore, at far as is shown in any documents I have seen, Hoes not seem to have carried out these orders. 
s On the same date he confirmed these instructions to Whitmore (C.O. 5/214). The Hon. John Byron, 
grandfather of the poet, was sent to Louisbourg in 1760, with a small squadron, to assist in this work. 



Amherst dispatched these orders to Whitmore by Captain De Ruvyne, a 
Captain of Miners, April 21, I76O. 1 The view of the town shows that the 
intention that the final state, " which is not to have the least appearance remaining 
of having had any works about it," was not entirely realized. 

The people of Louisbourg who returned to France were wards of the State. 
The Louisbourg companies were kept together for some time. Some of the 
officers were given commissions in similar regiments in the southern colonies of 
France ; all of them received pensions or were provided for. Dangeac and the 
Baron de l'Esprance became Governors of St. Pierre and Miquelon, Joubert of 
Marie Galante, and Villejouin of the island of D6sirade. Many of the families 
received pensions. An effort was made to have many of them emigrate to 
Cayenne, 2 but they feared the tropics, and asked to be allowed to remain in 
France. The Minister had his troubles with them. De la Boularderie was 
given a pension on the condition that he would not come near the Court. The 
Henriau family for many years received a pension as Acadians to which they 
were not entitled. Their daughter Sophie, moreover, was not eligible although 
born in Isle Royale, as she was singing in the Chorus of the Opera. 3 But much of 
the correspondence which deals with these people consists in replies to letters from 
Tours, Loches, Tonnay Charente, and other provincial towns, asking for increases 
of pensions for survivors. They carried with them to France the robustness 
given them in the colony. Madame Costebelle did not die until 1779, and her 
pension began in I72O. 4 Madame De la Perelle lived until 1784. The law 
made by the Assemble Nationale when, in 1791, it was setting in order the 
affairs of France, shows that there were still a goodly number of people drawing 
pensions. 5 

Madame Eurry De la Perelle, to whom reference has just been made, came 
to Louisbourg when it was founded, a young woman of twenty. Her husband 
was the first officer who died in the new settlement. She lived there until the 
second capture ; her three sons were officers in the troops. She did not die for 
twenty-four years after the demolition of the town, all of the fortunes of which 
passed before her eyes. That the life of a town should fall so far short of that 
of one of its people suggests the instability of the unimportant. Yet against this 
one background, with this unity of space and time, developed events which 
displayed the genius administrative, economic, military, of two peoples. The 
two score and six years of Louisbourg's existence show forth causes and conse- 
quences as clearly as the colonial history of two centuries. 

1 Notwithstanding delays the work was completed November 1760. The last mine was sprang on the 8th (Gibson 
Clough's Journal). 

2 Forant's legacy was applied to the missions of that colony. 3 B, vol. 164, 1778. 
4 B, vol. 165. 5 See Appendix. 








Return of Muikct, 
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For comparison is added the guns captured at Quebec. In large cannon 
Louisbourg was much superior. 

(C.O. 5/51). An Account of the Guns, Mortars, Ammunition & arms, etc., found in 
the City of Quebeck upon its surrender to H.M.'s troops the i8th September 1759. 

Brass Ordnance 

Iron Ordnance 

Brass Mortars 

Iron Mortars 

r 6-Pounders 















with a considerable quantity of powder, ball, small arms & intrenching tools, etc., the 
number of which cannot at present be ascertained. 

Commissary Artillery. 


THE ineffectiveness of the French Navy in connection with the military events 
which occurred at Louisbourg is striking. These events were of such a character 
that the action of naval forces, as it seems to be in all conjoint operations, was 
of paramount importance. The French recognized these crises. Even at a time 
when their naval forces were lowest, they did their best to send a strong force 
to protect or recover Louisbourg. The fleet of D'Anville in 1746 was an 
Armada, that of Du Bois de la Motte in 1757 was superior to Holburne's. Had 
the plans of the Minister not miscarried, the naval force for the defence in 1758 
would have been less inferior to the fleet led by Boscawen to the attack on the 
position which held secure the French dominions in America. 

In these major operations nothing was accomplished adequate to the re- 
sources placed at the disposal of the French commanders. The inaction of 
Meschin in 1744, the disastrous lack of judgment of Maisonfort in 1745, the 
betrayal of Beaussier de 1'Isle by his supporting ships in the conflict with the 
Grafton and Nottingham, less critical episodes, show the same inertia, slackness, or 

This condition, if we, the English-speaking, are not to fall back to the 
absurd point of view of the boys' book of adventure or the naval novel, demands 

The condition is summed up, from the practical standpoint, in the state- 
ment of a gallant French officer, 1 Coetnempren de Kersaint, who fell in the 
Homeric fight at Quiberon. He wrote to the Minister in 1755 : 

"The Deffenseur (a new 74) distinguished herself in our meeting with the English by 
sailing qualities superior to those of our other two ships. 'Tis a merit, my lord, in the heart- 
rending necessity in which we find ourselves for so long a time, to fly at sea before the 
English, or to be overwhelmed by their numbers." 5 

The general state of the French navy in the years we have been dealing with is 
shortly stated as a gradual decline. At the beginning of the eighteenth century it consisted 

1 "The best jailor that we had " (A French Account of Quiberon, Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 35,898). 

3 Arch. Nat. Marine, B 4 , vol. 68. 



of 281 vessels, while that of England at the death of William III., in 1702, had 271 

In 1751 Effective. Building. 

England had . . . . 116 21 

France had ..... 38 22 

In 1755 the forces were as follows, but it must be noted that the French included 
ships building, the English effective vessels : 

Guns. no 100 90 80 74 72 70 64 60 54 50 Smaller. 

English . i 5 13 8 5 o 29 o 39 3 28 112 

French . o o o 621 i 431 2 o 6 32 

Seventy-one French ships mounted, therefore, 4790 guns, while 131 English ships 
mounted 8722 guns, not far from double the PVench strength. 1 

This was the deplorable weakness of the French at a time when a vast 
colonial empire was at stake, the prize of naval strength. The extent of that 
empire is measured by the fact, that not only off the coasts of Canada and 
among the West Indian Islands, but along the shores of India, thundered the 
broadsides which gave that empire to England. 

After the influence of Louvois overpowered that of Colbert in the councils 
of the Great Louis, European conquests alone appealed to the absolute Monarch. 
Under the Regent and the young Louis XV., the policy of the Cardinal- 
Ministers, Du Bois and Fleury, the one anxious to placate England, the other for 
peace, was to neglect the navy lest they should alarm and give offence to their 
only rival in overseas expansion. The consequences of that neglect were to 
some slight extent enhanced by the personal qualities of Maurepas, from 1723 to 
1 749, in full control of the navy. 2 

Maurepas knew the necessity to France of a strong navy. His memoir 3 
states most ably this necessity. He, as a Minister, was the prototype of her 
Prime Ministers from his time to the Revolution. They knew that things were 
wrong, but were incapable of setting them right. A government, like an 
individual, exhausted by excess, retains insight into what should be done, long 
after the power to execute has failed. Maurepas accepted the trifle given for 
the navy and expended it judiciously. He was unwilling by a vigorous protest 
against a fatal parsimony to imperil the power, the patronage, the perquisites of 
a splendid position. 4 

1 Entinck, vol. i. p. 119. 

2 St. Simon speaks of " commoners born in the purple " (' Bourgeois porphyrogenetes "). To no family does this 
expression apply more justly than to the Phelypeaux, Counts of Pontchartrain and Maurepas, who succeeded each other as 
Secretaries of State from 1610 to 1755 (La Cour-Cayet, p. 86). s Arch. Marine, G 4 . 

* It is gratifying to quote in support of this view the latest work touching on Maurepas. The Marquis de Segur, 
Au Couchant de la Monarchic, Paris, 1910, p. 50, says, "II discernait nettement le bien, il le desirait de bonne foi ; le 
courage lui manquait pour le realiser." Jos. Yorke, son of Lord Hardwick, wrote to his brother-in-law Anson from 


This great office he lost through an inability to restrain a facile and mordant 
pen. Its play, directed against Madame de Pompadour, sent him into exile 
until I "'74. Then the accident of a broken spur gave time for palace intrigue to 
divert the messenger from the road to Machault, at Arnouville. Maurepas, with 
age added to his other weaknesses, was recalled from his domain of Pontchartrain, 
to the more splendid position of Prime Minister of Louis XVI. 

The lack of the French Navy was in the numbers of ships, not in their 
quality. The models on which its vessels were built were surpassingly excellent. 1 
They were apparently well handled, although one admirable British officer, quoted 
below, thinks, " our officers are better seamen." The accuracy with which 
various squadrons joined each other, the greater celerity with which the French 
fleets crossed the Atlantic as compared with the English against which they 
were acting, and the remarkable instances of certain voyages show that there 
must have been some very good navigators among the French commanders of 
the mid-century. Vauquelin, for example, escaped from Louisbourg on July 
15 with his little frigate patched up after the bombardment of the English 
batteries, and with only sixty men fit for service. He drove her across the 
Atlantic at such a rate that, after attempting to get into Bayonne, he was able on 
the 2nd of August to write from St. Andero of the plight of Louisbourg. 2 

" The clever concentration of the French was drawing to a head. 3 All these ships got 
through, and in remarkably quick time. Boscawen had been more than a month out 
when they started, and was still struggling with baffling winds somewhere between the 
Canaries and Bermuda, with seven more weeks before him. Yet Beaussier reached 
Louisbourg by the end of the month, nearly a fortnight before Boscawen made Halifax. 
Beaussier actually made the passage (from Brest to Louisbourg) in twenty-four days, April 4 
to 28, a feat not consoling to British seamanship. Boscawen made Madeira, the Canaries, the 
Bermudas, and the Isle of Sable. Rodney took seventy-two days, and Hardy two months." 4 

Drucour, however, acknowledges the superiority of the British in handling 
vessels in port. After recounting, that there were 33 vessels of war, including 
frigates, together with 80 or 90 transports, brought into Louisbourg after the 
capitulation, he goes on, " all these vessels are ranged in an admirable way in 
this roadstead, where the FYench last year scarcely found space enough for 
25 vessels and frigates." 5 

Warren, an active, capable officer, wrote to his friend and superior, 
George Anson : 

Paris, March 8, 1749 : "The Marine of France don't seem to get up so fast as some people fancied it would, though I 
believe Msr. dc Maurepas does all he can to put it on a good footing again, and he is allowed to be capable, indefategable 
and to have it much at heart" (B.M. Add. MSS. 15,957, f. 338). 

1 Warren said the I'igilant, a sixty-four, was larger than an English eighty (Feb. 14, 1745/6, Ad. Des. 1/480). 

2 Arch. Nat. Marine, R 4 , vol. Sc, f. 285. 

3 Corbctt, vol. i. p. 168. * Vol. i. p. 316. 5 Drucour'* Journal, Aug. 9, 1758. 


"I am greatly pleas'd to hear it has been propos'd with a Prospect of Success to 
Augment the Number of men, and weight of Metall, in all the different classes of our ships, 
to putt them upon a Parr with those of the French. When that is the Case, there will 
no excuse be left for ill behaviour ; and I dare say upon all occasions when no Extraordinary 
or unforeseen accident shall Intervene, our Ships, and people, will give a good account of 
their Enemys of equal Force, when and wherever they meet. For I cant help thinking, 
we have this advantage of them that our Officers are better Seamen than theirs, and I hope 
as valiant, and our Men in general more Robust, and Stronger, and never were thought to 
want courage, tho' they have very little virtue of any other kind." 1 

This letter does not convey the impression that Warren felt any over- 
whelming sense of English superiority, unit for unit, over the French. 2 

His view is borne out by the fact that the French preferred boarding and 
close combat to cannonading, which implies a confidence in their crews. 3 

These considerations point to the conclusion that, in general, the French 
lacked in numbers of ships, rather than in the quality of the ships themselves, 
or their armament, or the way in which they were placed to give the best results. 
There are many instances of heroic courage. Maisonfort, in the trap in which 
he allowed himself to be caught, fought the Vigilant gallantly against an over- 
whelming force. In 1755, L'Esperance, an old tub, with only 22 guns 
mounted, fallen behind the fleet of Du Bois de la Motte, on its way back to 
France, was overtaken by the Qrford, 70 guns. The Vicomte de Bouville, her 
commander, twice drove off the English ship. In the third attack the Orford 
was reinforced by the Buckingham^ also of 70 guns, and the Esperance was 
surrendered in such a state that she had to be sunk, and the Orford had to 
hasten to Plymouth for repairs. Anson and Warren won a great victory over 
La Jonquiere off Cape Finisterre, on May 14, 1747. The French fleet had 
384 guns, the English 938, yet so sanguinary was the conflict that nearly 800 
were killed on the French ships. 4 

But while disparity in numbers accounts for many English naval victories, 
it does not affect the conditions at Louisbourg, where twice the superiority was 
with the French. The efficiency of a navy depends, in a peculiar degree, on 
the temper and professional attainments of its officers of all ranks, because to 
all of them, above the subaltern grades, some important degree of independence 
is left from time to time. It is difficult to picture, for land forces, circumstances 

1 Warren to Anson, April 2, 1745, Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 15,957. 

2 How badly things were managed in the British Navy, only a few years before he wrote, is seen in the opening 
chapter of Anson's voyage. 

3 " For the reason that M. de Beaussier had determined to board, having a crew superior in numbers and quality to 
those of the English, who prefer always cannon fire (" la maniere de se battre au canon ") to that of boarding, which with 
them rarely succeeded against the French " (Du Fresne du Motel to Surlaville, Derniers yours, p. 193). 

4 Prevost gives an account of the losses, written from the Devonshire entering Plymouth. The staff and garrison of 
Louisbourg, which had been sent back to France, were being returned to Canada on La Jonquiere's fleet. 


in which so young an officer as the officer of the watch, on a battleship, would 
have dependent on his immediate action the safety of so many men, the 
preservation of so potent an engine of war. The work of a Foreign Secretary 
is hampered to the slightest degree by the mediocrity of his clerks ; so it is 
with other Departments of State. But in a fleet, until new orders are received, 
the captain is in absolute command of his ship. General orders are of necessity 
vague in many points, so that even to the commander of the smallest vessel 
there is left scope for their interpretation, a chance for initiative, and in 
unforeseen contingencies, nowhere more likely to arise than on the sea, 
opportunities for independent action. It is on account of the scope the 
necessities of the service give them, that in a navy the moral of its officers of 
all grades, and the standards of performance to which they are held by their 
superiors, are of the most vital importance. We have to look into the internal 
administration of the French Navy, and the effect on its personnel of that 
administration, to find explanations of conditions fully accounted for neither by 
numerical inferiority nor the character of the unit. 

One of these explanations is closely connected, however, with relative 
strength of opposing navies. The most serious consequence of inferiority was 
not the difficulties it created for the staff" trying to dispose of it to the best 
advantage, but its effect on the sea officers. This can be illustrated from the 
world of business. The merchant, with abundant capital which is constantly 
earning ample profits, will take more risks than any competitor other than one 
who is on the verge of bankruptcy, ready to risk all on a desperate venture. 
England was in the position of the former. France was not yet in the straits 
of the bankrupt. Her naval policy was similar to that of the man who fears 
bankruptcy and struggles to avoid it by husbanding resources, the inadequacy 
of which he clearly recognizes. Instructions, even when relations with England 
were strained, were pacific, to avoid the enemy's ships, and not to fight unless 
required by the honour of the flag. Thus, the native hue of resolution in her 
commanders seems often sicklied o'er by the thought that imperilling his ships 
was of vastly more consequence to his service than a similar risk in the enemy's 
fleet. To be exact, this consequence to the French, in 1755, was as one to one 
hundred and three ; to the English, as one to two hundred and forty-three. 
Clear proof that great gains were probable, would condone a miscarriage in the 
view of superiors with the ampler resources at their disposal. The relative 
weakness of the French sea forces, therefore, not only dictated a cautious policy 
to its staff", but benumbed the energy of those who were carrying it out. From 
this point of view, the prudent course for the French captain was to preserve 
his ship, for the English to risk his with any fair prospect of success. 

The cautious temper which these inadequate resources would induce, was 


confirmed and heightened by the ineffective discipline of the French Navy. 
Those amiable qualities of Maurepas, which preserved for him, throughout his 
exile, a host of friends, made him a poor head for such a service as a navy. 
His ordinary attitude, however disappointing might be the result, was that 
the officer had presumably done his best. There are many bulky folio 
volumes, 1 dealing with the personnel of the French Navy, covering his adminis- 
tration and those of his ephemeral successors. They give the origin and the 
family connections of the officers and notes on their character. It is the rarest 
thing to find in these records any evidence of discipline for ineffectiveness. 

Maisonfort was never given a sea command after his error contributed so 
largely to the fall of Louisbourg in 1745. He, however, received pensions in 
due course, which could not greatly " encourager Jes autres." 2 The two com- 
manders who failed to support Beaussier de 1'Isle were acquitted by an easy 
board of inquiry, 3 aided by the magnanimity of Beaussier. One of them 
forthwith committed suicide ; the other not only retained his position, but was 
promoted to the command of a larger ship, which was sunk with all her 
crew at Quiberon. 

The most striking instance of accepting a poor performance when 
opportunities' were given for an effective one, was in the case of Du Bois de 
la Motte. A skilful junction of three squadrons at Louisbourg, which there 
came under his flag, gave him command of a fine fleet. He passed the summer 
in making defensive works, while the inferior fleet of Holburne blockaded the 
port. A tempest in September, which did little damage to his ships, so 
shattered the enemy's fleet that it was a fine feat of seamanship, even after 
refitting at Halifax, to bring it home across the Atlantic. Du Bois, instead of 
issuing out and crushing Holburne, remained inactive in Louisbourg. His 
instructions were reasonably explicit. After recounting the forces to be placed 
at his disposal, the document goes on : 

" His Majesty has chosen the Count Dubois de la Motte to take command of all these 
vessels and frigates, and the proofs he has given at all times of his zeal, of his skill and 
of his experience, makes His Majesty hope that he will fill to his satisfaction this high 
office, which is one of the most important which can arise in the navy in the present war. 

" Its purpose is to foil (faire echouer) the projects which the enemy have made against 
Louisbourg or Quebec, and perhaps even against both projects for the execution of which 
they have made efforts which they will not likely be in a state to repeat if they do not 
succeed this year. ... If the junction of the men of war of His Majesty can be made 
at Louisbourg, there is ground for believing not only that the enemy will not venture 
to undertake anything against Louisbourg or Quebec, but even that Count Dubois de 

1 Marine, C 1 . 2 Arch. Nat. Marine, C 1 , vol. 167. 

8 It was headed by the Cte. du Guay, who was the mouthpiece for the noble officers in their protest the next year 
against the promotion of "officiers bleus " (La C.-G. p. 225). 


la Motte will find himself able to attack them with advantage. . . . His first object must 
be to assure the safety of the places which the enemy may wish to attack or threaten. . . . 
He can render a great service without question if he can prevent them succeeding in their 
projects by making useless their efforts. Not only the best means of securing the failure 
of their plans will be to destroy their fleet and transports, but the advantages of an engage- 
ment (combat) will be moreover of great importance for the glory of His Majesty's arms, 
for the honour of His Navy, and for promoting a peace. . . . With such forces he should 
have superiority over the enemies. Every reason makes His Majesty wish that he 
(Du Bois) should profit by his superiority." 

So far, these instructions show a grasp of the conditions and their possibilities. 
They are so stated as to be stimulating to an officer eager to distinguish himself, 
or even adequately to carry out his orders, but they go on as follows : 

" His Majesty, however, does not positively order him to attack the enemy. Assured 
as is His Majesty of his zeal, his valour and his prudence, His Majesty can only refer in 
this manner to what he believes ought to be done in this regard, without too greatly risking 
the forces committed to his care, the safe keeping of which so vitally affects the Navy." J 

Here is the loophole for the cautious, so commonly was it taken advantage 
of, that Du Bois returned home feeling that he had done well. He asked that 
he should be given the baton of a Marshal of France, or appointed Vice- 
Admiral of France. The first seemed too great a step. There were difficulties 
in the way of the second, but he was given a pension of 12,000!. until he was 
made Vice-Admiral, which grade he reached in 1762.' While he accomplished 
the principal purposes of the expedition, the failure to do his utmost again 
suggests, in the effect on the service, a comparison with Byng. 3 

The chance which Du Bois de la Motte let slip seemed in England one 
fraught with the greatest possibilities 

". . . but it seems much to be feared that the French may have come out of Louis- 
bourg, and picked up our almost wrecked ships. . . . Such is the lamentable end of that 
more boasted than well planned, and as ill-conducted as unfortunate American Expedition, 
which was to have restored this country j and here I suppose concludes all the schemes, 
if there were any, upon which part of this fleet was ordered to winter in America. God 
grant us a tolerable peace if possible before we are more undone, for to go on is sure not 
possible" (Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 35,376, f. 143. This letter was written from the 
Admiralty, Oct. 31, 1757). 

These are not the views of an irresponsible pamphleteer or a re-echoing of 
the opposition to the Government. They were written by Lady Anson, wife 
of the First Lord of the Admiralty, daughter of Lord Hardwicke, the Vice- 
Chancellor, than whom no one could be closer to the Ministry. 

1 Arch. Marine, B*, vol. 76. No italics in the original. 2 Arch. Nat. Marine, B 4 and C 1 , 165, 166. 

3 The sweeping condemnation of Ailmiral Matthews and his captains in 1744 is an earlier example of the severity 
in the English service. 


In justice to Du Bois de la Motte, it should be said that his force was 
seriously weakened by sickness ; on his return to Brest, November 23, he 
disembarked 4000 sick, which spread typhus and scurvy in the town, so that 
not only the crew died, but over 10,000 of the inhabitants of the seaport were 
victims of the contagion which his squadron brought back. 1 The Inflexible 
states that 2000 sailors died, and that they brought back more than 2400 
sick. 2 Du Revest, commander of the Hector, died at Brest, December 3i. 3 

Des Gouttes again lost a chance for a dashing exploit. He, with his 
command of six ships of the line and frigates, was blockaded in Louisbourg 
by Boscawen's twenty-two ships of the line. Unless they all could escape 
through the blockade, a most improbable performance, they were bound, as 
the event proved, to be " burnt, sunk, or destroyed." Loss being thus most 
probable, there was little additional risk in taking an active course. When an 
easterly gale sprang up on the 5th of June it found Boscawen's principal ships 
either dispersed or at anchor well down in Gabarus Bay, that is on the lee 
shore, and encumbered by scores of transports mostly to windward of them. 
The possibilities of the situation are stated by an eye-witness : 

" It is well to note that if the commander of the squadron which is in our port had 
wished he might have immortalised himself, but that glory which is gained by danger to 
life is not that which this officer seeks. He has proved this in many circumstances. The 
hostile fleet was well down, as I have said, in the bay, by winds favourable to him (Des 
Gouttes), and by a fog, which would have hidden his movements from the enemy, he might 
have driven in to the fleet and with his six vessels destroyed it entirely. The worst 
would have been to lose his ships. . . . They could have beached them and saved them- 
selves on shore under the fire of our entrenchments. This manoeuvre was easy. I have 
heard it said by sea officers, M. de Brunion (Brugnon), a man whose zeal equals his 
capacity, wished to do this with his ship, the Bizarre. They gave to his project the name 
of the vessel he commanded, and the commander . . . looked on what he did not dare to 
undertake, as an ill-considered and impossible project." * 

The bitterness of Poilly is surpassed by that of another writer, an officer 
of the garrison, on the events discreditable to the navy, in the later days of the 
siege. He to disguise his identity wrote his version in capitals, but, as it is 
preserved among official documents, 5 it must have fallen under the eyes of those 
in authority. There was no question of the naval commanders having " risked 
their heads." 6 Des Gouttes continued in the service unscathed, and retired from 
it in 1764 with high rank of (Chef d'Escadre) Rear-Admiral. 

These instances show that no high standard of performance was demanded 
from officers, not only under Maurepas, but his transient successors. Equally 

1 La Cour-Gayet, p. 360. 2 Canadian Archi-vei, 1906. 

3 Etat sommaire, p. 178. * Poilly. 

5 Arch. Nat. Marine, B 4 , vol. 80, f. 82. 8 This officer is quoted in Chap. XIV. pp. 274 and 284. 


one fails to find the converse of this, recognition and reward of brilliant and 
effective services. The records show for the most part a series of jogging, 
monotonous advancements from step to step, appointments given by seniority 
rather than capacity. It was not until Choiseul took charge of the French Navy, 
that some degree of the same life reanimated a dormant and discouraged service 
which Pitt instilled earlier into the forces of England. 

Seniority counted for too much. Meschin, 1 on whose action hung, in 
1744, the fate of Acadia, had commanded the Semslack, from which the first 
settlers of Isle Royale landed in 1713. Du Bois de la Motte 2 was an 
excellent officer. The disposition of his ships on the voyage and in Louis- 
bourg seems to a layman admirable, but he was seventy-four. A Schomberg, 
whose leadership at eighty inspired confidence in a nation, is the rarest of 
commanders. Retirement at a ripe age with a pension was sure of attainment 
to any one who did not disgrace himself. The incentive of prompt reward 
was lacking. Boscawen inquired, when he landed, about Vauquelin. When 
he heard that it was the captain of a little frigate who had handled his vessel 
so brilliantly, he said that if Vauquelin were in his command he would 
recommend him for captain of a ship of the line. It would have been 
difficult for the French officers to whom he said it to find a similar instance 
in their own service. His remark might well have been made in the presence 
of one of his own captains, whose recent promotion was a proof that 
Boscawen's disposition was that of the Lords of the Admiralty. 

On the New Year's Day, 1758, the Adventure , Captain Bray, lay at anchor 
in Dungeness Roads, and saw a snow reach in. They engaged. By good 
seamanship and great personal bravery, Captain Bray and his pilot passed his 
mizzen topsail sheet and a hawser round the Frenchman's bow-sprit and made 
it fast to his capstan, and then after an hour's sharp fighting, the privateer, 
hailing from Dunkirk, surrendered. Before the January number of the Grand 
Magazine had gone to press it was able to announce that from the fifth rate, 
Adventure, 44 guns and 250 men, Bray had been promoted to the third rate, 
Princess Amelia, 64 guns and 600 men, in which he joined Boscawen's fleet. 
The capture of a privateer mounting 14 nine-pounders by a ship of 44 guns 
was insignificant. The great reward was given for good seamanship and personal 
courage. 8 

1 He entered the service in 1683, and completed in all fifty-nine years. 

- Entered the service in 1698. He had, therefore, served fifty-nine years when he was placed in command of this fleet. 

3 Four promotions were made in Louisbourg in consequence of the boat expedition. Balfour was given command 
of the Bienfahant, which was repaired and sent to England ; Laforey was made captain of the Echo. Affleck and 
Bickerton, senior lieutenants of the Namur, took command of the JEtna and Hunter, vacated by these promotion* 
(Boscawen to Pitt, July 28, 1/58). In 1745 also, Douglas, who, in command of the Mermaid, had been instrumental 
in the capture of the figilant, was promoted to her immediately after he towed her safely to Gabarus. 


Another characteristic of the French service, which one naturally contrasts 
with the system of its rival, was that the former was aristocratic. The young 
noble who entered as garde-marine was clothed in scarlet and gold lace. He 
found himself not only among his social equals, but in very many cases among 
his kinsmen, or others of naval families allied in the service to his own. In his 
list of the fleet sent out to America in 1757, La Cour-Gayet 1 gives biographical 
details of the twenty captains. Twelve belonged to naval families. The 
influence of these social conditions would tend to give a high sense of personal 
dignity insistent on personal rights ; to some extent, a feeling of superiority to 
drudgery, and hostility, or at least coldness to the outsider among them, 2 and, it 
is not to be doubted, the disadvantages as well as the extraordinary advantages 
which one naturally looks for in a body of men united not only by efprit de 
corps, but by social equality and the ties of blood. 

There were, owing to relaxation of the conditions as to noble birth, some 
officers who were from a lower social stratum. They were not well received in 
the service. Beaussier de 1'Isle was a son of the Port Captain of Toulon, and 
it was hinted that his supporting captains hung back in the engagement already 
referred to, to embarrass and discredit one who was an outsider in their own 
service. He rose to a high rank in the service (Chef d'Escadre), but the 
officiers bleus^ who came in from outside, rarely were as fortunate. Vauquelin, 
a ship-master of Dieppe, whose services, not only at Louisbourg but at 
Quebec, were so extraordinarily brilliant, never rose to a higher command 
than that of a king's freight-ship (flute], although he remained in the service 
until I772. 3 

Rosier was said to be the son of an important merchant of Bordeaux. The 
brilliant defence which will shortly be recounted, gained for him a lieutenancy, 
and after some years the rank of a captain of a fire-ship, which seemed to be 
the highest rank he reached before his death in 1769. 

The relations between Anson, one of the most brilliant and distinguished 
naval men of his time, and Warren, whose social origin was relatively humble, 
were probably not exceptional in the English service. I have found in French 
documents no evidence that it would have been possible in that service for an 

1 P. 508. 

2 ''It is incredible the magnificence of the table on board the French men-of-war, served with all the elegance that it 
is possible to do on land, which the captains of English vessels would never be able to imitate, for as soon as they receive 
orders to sail with the first favourable wind, of which they render an account to the Admiralty, which they do daily 
in all the ports of England, they are not allowed to remain longer, as the French ships are obliged to do, sometimes 
during three weeks, to wait for provisions on the table ; and the English captains are often sufficiently unfortunate as to 
be obliged to content themselves with salt beef and bacon like the sailors, with this difference, that the captains have the 
choice of the pieces. It is true that the Commissioners of the Admiralty take great care that the provisions of the ships 
should be of good quality, well-conditioned and in good case" (Memoir t of the Chc-valier Johnstone, vol. ii. p. 174, note). 
The gossip of the New England camp had it that Maisonfort's service of plate was worth 5000, 

3 Arch. Nat. Marine, C 1 , vol. 174, f. 1656. 


officer of Warren's origin to write to his superior as freely as Warren wrote to 
Anson ten days before their crowning victory over La Jonquiere. 

"April 23, 1747. 

" Dear Sir : I am glad you have alter'd your Line of Battle for I observed it as you did 
yesterday weak in the Center, where tis most probable ye Enemy (should wee be so happy 
to meet them) will be strongest. You see Sir how necessary 'tis to Exercise fleet. 'Tis 
pretty difficult to keep a good Line close by the Wind and I think when you next 
please to Exercise the Fleet in separate Divisions, and a Breast, The Lines should be 
form'd at a distance one Division to windward of the others as you shall judge proper, and 
the Windward one, to go down on the Leeward, in order of Battle, so near as you wou'd 
have them Engage an Enemy you'l pardon my taking this Lyberty." 1 

The momentous consequence to the French Navy of this difficulty of 
entrance to others than those to the manner born, was that it lost the services 
of many who had a taste for the sea, a capacity for command, and a desire to 
serve in the fleets of their country. Scores of men rose to high rank in the 
English service who entered it as ordinary seamen or as volunteers. This was 
the case of Warren, and of many others. The flag of an admiral was in the 
kit-bag of the English sailor, generations earlier than the staff of a marshal was 
placed, by Napoleon, in the knapsack of the French soldier. The tradition in 
one English family is, that the talk of an admiral, who, through the breaking 
down of his carriage, took shelter in a clergyman's house, led the two sons to 
run away to sea. Two peerages ultimately rewarded the success of their careers. 2 
There is found an explanation of the prodigious exploits of French privateers 3 
during this period, in what well may be a fact, that many of them were 
commanded by men who, had the fleets of France been as open as those of 
England, would have fought on her King's ships as valiantly as they made 
conquests of the British mercantile marine. The magazines of the period give 
lists of captures on both sides, and the bravery of the privateersmen and the 
commanders of armed merchantmen, the skill with which they handled their 
vessels, show the large numbers of men who might have been available for 
service in the French Navy, had that service been made attractive to them. 

The following is the narrative of a voyage printed in full, as a condensation 
cannot give, as well as the main actor's own words, the impression of capacity, 
modesty, and courage it conveys. 

" Narrative of the engagement between the Robuste of Bordeaux, Captain Jean Joseph 
Rosier, freighted by the King for Quebec, and armed with 6 eight-pounders and 18 six- 

1 B.M. Add. MSS. 1^957, f. 172. 

a The captain of the Jamaica, whose skilful manoeuvres in search of information off Louisbourg harbour are 
recounted, wa one of these boys (Ad. DCS. 1/4X1). 

3 The privateer Mackavlt, which Bray captured, apparently did not hesitate to engage a man-of-war of 44 gum. 
The latter only avoided being raked by very skilful manoeuvring. 


plunders, with a crew all told of 77, and 150 soldiers of the regiment of Volontaires 
Etrangers, and an English frigate of 30 guns in a tier and a half ('dans une batterie 
et demie'). 

"The I3th April 1757, on my voyage towards Quebec, in latitude 44 55', and longi- 
tude (of Paris) 5' 35", at daybreak I saw a vessel on my lee, pointing northwards, the wind 
W.N.W., carrying her four principal sails, her mizzen and mizzen-top sails without top- 
gallant masts. 

" She changed her course to my wake and gave chase. I set her down as a merchantman 
obliged to approach in tacking. Her greater speed gave her the advantage of coming at 
noon as near as the gunshot of a twelve-pounder. I then watched her and saw she was a 
frigate with a tier and a half of guns, crowded with people, and extraordinarily high out of 
water. Not being able to withdraw, and thinking it useless to parley, I clewed up my 
lower sails to wait for him. When he stood across my course, I showed him my colours, 
and, as customary, fired a shot. He broke out his, with all his broadside. Then the 
engagement began and was most sanguinary, always side by side up to 7 o'clock, 
when our common disorder compelled us to draw off to set things to rights. I had my 
main and main top-sail yards broken, my mizzen and fore top-sail yards brought down, 
all my sails in tatters and useless. I had in this attack 18 instantly killed and 42 
wounded, several mortally, and several cannon-shot ( c a fleur d'eau') between wind and 

"Our plight seemed so sorry that after making an inspection of my ship I decided, 
with my staff, that we should turn back on account of the impossibility of making repairs 
at sea. In consequence I set my course for Perthuis, or the River of Bordeaux ; the wind 
being favourable, I proceeded all day and the next night under easy sail. 

"About noon on the ifth my look-out saw a vessel about four leagues to leeward, 
which was manoeuvring to come up with me. My few sails did not permit me to avoid 
him ; he was within a long cannon-shot at 6 o'clock in the evening. He showed a white 
flag and fired a shot ; not perceiving that he showed any special sign of need, I kept on 
my course. I took his bearings at sunset, and thought he was in my wake, and the flares 
and rockets which he was throwing out made me think he was in chase. At nine he was 
within earshot, and hailed me. I answered him. He said to me in a compassionate tone, 
1 Poor prisoner, I advise you to strike and not to make any resistance ; I will give you 
good terms.' His exhortation was followed by his broadside in my stern, where I was 
exposed, his sails giving him this advantage over me. In consequence I handled my ship 
so that it was broadside to him. Then the battle became general from stem to stern, 
and was more savage though less fatal than the former one. I had in this attack, which 
finished at one o'clock in the morning, my main and mizzen top-masts smashed, and my 
sails more destroyed than the former ones, 5 men killed and 1 1 wounded. My adversary, 
drawing off, favoured me in making repairs, which I did at once. I refitted my mizzen 
and foretop-gallant yards, these being the only ones I could trim to keep on my course, 
which I did. 

" At daybreak my enemy, which had watched me all night, manoeuvred to rejoin me, 
which he accomplished at 1 1 o'clock. I recognized him as the same frigate with which I 
had my first affair. I counted his guns, which were fifteen on each side, and some of my 
officers assured me that they had seen cannon on his forecastle and quarter-decks. The 



engagement began anew and did not stop until 6 o'clock, when he hailed and I answered. 
He said to me, 'Yield, gentlemen, yield, you will be treated as you deserve. We will 
give you good terms. We are a frigate of the English King's, so be undisturbed.' 
Thereupon he hoisted a square flag at his foretop. I answered, not being able to hoist a 
square flag like him, as I had no mast standing, that I was flattered to have intercourse 
with my equals, that I had still powder and shot, that I regretted extremely that I had no 
canvas to show him a course contrary which he would compel me to take, and, moreover, 
that he had only now to do his duty, and I would keep on doing mine. I gave him three 
Vive le Roi, my broadside of guns and musketry, at which we kept steadily until half-past 
seven. My enemy, as crippled as I was, was pumping out water at all his scuppers and 
steered with galley sweeps. I gathered that his rudder was useless, and at the same moment 
discovered that mine was also damaged. I had it repaired at once. In vain then would 
either have yielded to the other. Our condition allowed us only to think of ourselves. 
The night which followed put us out of sight of each other. 

" I worked hard to effect repairs. At daybreak I saw a ship ahead coming toward 
us. We came together at ten, and I made him out as a privateer of 16 guns and 
several swivels, with a large crew. He began the fight, but drew off at the end of an 
hour, setting his lower sails and making a following wind, satisfied with our response 
and our gunnery. In these two last attacks we had 3 killed and 8 wounded. At 
noon I sighted the land at Oleron. At eight that evening I cast anchor a league 
from Chassiron. 

"My situation is most pitiable. I have standing my mizzen, and that without its top- 
mast, and my bowsprit, not a working bit of rigging from stem to stern. At least fifty 
shot above the water-line and a prodigious number in the hull. I think that on one side 
and the other there were fired 3000 shot, and we fired 15,000 rounds of musketry, which 
I have verified by counting the remaining cartridges. I have had 29 soldiers and seamen 
killed and 61 wounded. 

" M. Diaparraguerre, my chief officer, received a ball in the right thigh in the 
first fight and is dangerously wounded. This accident greatly alarmed me, knowing 
his worth. 

"M. Charriolle et Du Salier, my two lieutenants, bore themselves with all imaginable 
bravery. The latter, who was wounded in the right shoulder in the first fight, was found 
faithfully at his post in the three following, and behaved himself with distinction. 
M. Biere, second lieutenant, was also wounded in the first fight in the right thigh, and 
is unfit for service. 

"MM. the officers of my passengers, the Volontaires Strangers, distinguished them- 
selves. In particular M. de St. Rome, the Captain, who threw into the sea a fire-pot, 
which fell into the midst of twenty men, and never ceased rallying his men, and by his 
worthy example making their volleys effective. 

" M. de Gagnereau, his lieutenant, does not merit less praise, and although wounded by 
a splinter in the arm, was always at his post. 

"M. de Coussade, whom the Court had sent as a passenger, has died from his wounds. 
He bore himself with distinction. 

"The soldiers, slack at first, afterwards displayed an intrepid bravery, and I know not 
how to give them praise enough. 


" I was also excited to make a most vigorous defence, not being ignorant of the 
importance of my cargo to the King's service. ROSIER." 1 

The sense of responsibility for a few hundred tons of stores for Quebec 
which animated so desperate a defence, indicated a temper of mind which 
would not be uncommon among such men. The vividness of impressions of 
one in a novel position enhances greatly the sense of the importance of its 
duties. The incident gives rise to the thought that had the resources of Des 
Gouttes been at the disposal of Vauquelin, Rosier, or Brugnon, there would 
have been found at Louisbourg as many of the militant righteous as would 
have saved the city. 

In support of this view it may be pointed out that there was not a great 
difference in motive between the privateersmen and the merchant captain on the 
one hand, and the naval officer on the other, in times when every merchantman 
was armed, when regulations regarding naval prize money and letters of 
marque were issued at the beginning of every war. Prize money was an 
important factor in the career of the naval officer, while the privateer was 
not devoid of patriotism. In a crucial case, the former would be expected to 
sacrifice gain for the honour of the flag, a lower standard would suffice for 
the man whose voyage was primarily for booty. The order of the motives 
might, however, be reversed, without necessarily any material change in their 
normal power. The richness of the fleets of the French East India Company, 
the extent of French commerce revealed in the War of the Austrian Succession, 
whetted the appetite of the British naval officer. Warren, a portionless Irish 
lad, through his captures on his long term on the North American station 
and at Louisbourg, had the reputation of being very rich. 2 There are many 

1 Arch. Nat. Marine, B 4 , vol. 76, f. 377. Guebriant, Intendant at Bordeaux, transmitted this account to the Minister 
with his approval, and recommended a bonus to them all, as they had lost everything. 

This account is so interesting, and displays on the part of this French merchant captain such a vigorous fighting 
quality, not always found in commanders of the King's ships, that a search has been made for a verification of his state- 
ments. A search through the Admirals' list-book showed that no frigate of the size of his adversary was in a position to 
have taken part in this fight, nor were there any sidelights found in the Admiralty papers, nor did the best of current 
news, namely, the Magazines or the London Gazette, give any trace of this encounter. The London Chronicle, however, 
prints the following account, which shows that the vessel with which the Robuste was engaged was an English privateer : 

" Bristol, May jth. By a letter received from an officer on board the Ceesar privateer, brought by a Spanish vessel 
arrived at Plymouth, we have an account that besides taking two prizes (viz. the Black Prince from Bordeaux for Cape 
Breton, a snow of about 180 tons, laden with 1200 barrels of flour, 25 tuns of wine, etc., and the Jo/ie Pontac, of about 
120 tons, bound from Bordeaux to Mississippi, laden with flour and wine) they had an engagement with a French frigate 
of 36 guns, the I3th, I5th, and i6th ult., which was very obstinate and continued seven hours the last day j and when 
the Ctesar left her she looked like a wreck, having lost all her masts and rigging. The Ctfsar had but a corporal of the 
marines killed and 22 men wounded. During the engagement she fired 8000 musket and 700 cannon shot, besides an 
incredible number of Largin and Partridge shot, and three 30 Hand Grandes (?) out of the tops, which did great execution. 
This account was dated April 25th, in J,at. 45,00, Long. 4,50, at which time the Casar was in sight of two sail to 
windward, supposed to be part of a fleet from Bordeaux, two of them of 30 guns each, 9 and 12 pounders, which she had 
seen for seven days, and hoped to meet with some English Men of War or Privateers to assist her." 

2 His correspondence with Anson refers more than once to the investment of his prize money. It may be noted 


fair mansions built, with some remote suggestion of a flagship in their 
architecture, by retired and enriched naval commanders. The dignity of 
more than one peerage is maintained by the investment of the prize money 
of those on whom they were conferred for naval victories. These possibilities 
were ever present to the naval commander. Warren proved his zeal in not 
murmuring in leaving the rich hunting-grounds of the West Indies for the 
barren seas off Isle Royale. 1 When Boscawen was in the fogs off Newfoundland, 
uncertain of his position, he writes to his wife : 

u I own I was in hopes never to have seen America again, but now I earnestly wish 
tor it, not but that I think of home, and for amusement this morning, drawn a house 
after Lady Essex's plan, sure I am you will like it, and if we have a war, it is hard if I 
dont get enough to build and maintain it." : 

Land officers were interested in privateering. General Whitmore had a 
privateer schooner, while Governor of Louisbourg. 3 

There were other examples, differing from these, in which the desire for 
prize money was pushed to undue lengths. West Indian merchants complained 
that men-of-war captured in the old war French and Spanish merchantmen, 
instead of ridding those seas of the many privateers which were destroying 
English commerce. A more striking instance was that of Rodney, who was 
bringing out Amherst to the armament which was awaiting him at Halifax. 
Rodney lost over a fortnight in securing a very rich prize he made off Brest. 4 
Such keenness led to a lack of decency in carrying out captures. The officers 
of the Alcide and Lys complained bitterly of being ill treated, and robbed 
of personal effects. 5 

Don Antonio d'Ulloa, a Spanish scientist, had the misfortune to be a 
passenger on the No /re Dame de la Deliverance, when she was captured in 

that he wrote to Anson in 1747 (i9th May), saying that if an accident befell him he must "leave his wife and pretty 
Babes to the mercy of his King and Country," as his private affairs were very unsettled (B.M. Add. MSS. 15,957). 

1 "I cou'd have pitch'd upon none attended with a prospect of greater uneasyness, and less personal advantage, I 
mean where Booty is esteem'd so, which I hope will never be so with me" (Warren to Anson, April 2, 1745, B.M. 
Add. MSS. 15,95-, f. 152). 

8 Torbav at sea, May 25, 1755, Falmouth papers. Boscawen's tombstone states that he 






s Clough's Jl. u Oct. 1759. 

4 "Considering that he was engaged in the special duty of carrying to the seat of war the belated commander-in-chief 
of the main operation of the campaign, the incident will hardly commend itself as a precedent to modern judgment" 
(Corbett. vol. i, p. 315). Arch. Nat. Marine, B 4 , vol. 68, f. 267, and Pichon MSS., Halifax. 


1745 off Louisbourg. He says that they were stripped naked before the 
crew, from apprentice to Captain, and searched in the most humiliating manner 
possible, so that not a penny might escape, and most astonishing of all, that 
in this search the English captains themselves took a foremost part. It was 
obviously professional, for one of these captains turned over to the Spaniards 
for their use a house in Louisbourg, of which he had taken possession and 
did not require, as he remained on board his ship. 1 

The French naval officer also knew the charm of prize money and of 
gain. The documents the writer has searched deal little with their success. 
It was far less than the English. The motive, however, seems as potent, 
and the official encouragement in prize money was as great. A contemporary 
attributes the lack of zeal among them to three causes : they remain too long 
idle in port, they look to their profession as a means of enriching themselves, 
and often their share of goods for trade (la petite pacotille] which they have 
on board is their only fortune. 2 

These explanations, illustrated for the sake of local colour, with incidents 
connected with Isle Royale, may be summarised in saying that a neglected 
service 3 was opposed to one high in favour with its court and country. One 
which was starved in money, men and equipment, had to meet in conflict 
another on which were lavished the resources of a country constantly growing 
in wealth. The commanders of one were drawn from a single class, of the 
other, from a whole nation. Officers, whose experience led them to expect 
defeat, were opposed to others flushed with victory, or desirous of emulating 
the exploits of their colleagues ; those knowing that neither victory nor 
defeat made a vital difference in their careers ; these, assured of all the rewards 
of success, speedy professional advancement, rank, wealth and glory. 

That period during which Louisbourg existed covers, save for a score 
of earlier years, that in which these striking changes in the two services were 
brought about. Up to a certain point the strength and morale of the French 
navy, if not superior, was at least not inferior to that of England. Her 
colonies, and still more, the vast territories brought under her sphere of 
influence by the energy and intrepidity of her explorers, was the vastest the 

1 D'Ulloa, Voyage Historique, vol. 2, book ill, p. 1 1 6. 

2 Surlaville, Derniers jfours, p. 273. All commerce was forbidden to officers of the Navy, 13 March 1717, Isambart 
Recueuil, xxi. p. 139. 

There were rumours afloat not only in Isle Royale, but also in France, that Vauquelin had carried in his 
Arethute a valuable cargo when he escaped from Louisbourg. One of the New England carpenters, Knap, says it was 
thought " she had much Riches on board." This was the gossip of a camp. The Minister wrote to Vauquelin 
(October 26, B, vol. 108), asking him if he brought any cargo and for whom, which would point to some suspicion 
that this might be the case. I have not found Vauquelin's reply. The implication seems to be that he was acting for 
some one else. An " officer bleu " would be careful to obey the regulations. 

8 The Almanack Royal gives a little more than a page to the Navy. 


world had ever seen. The advantages to France of this Colonial Empire were 
enormous. It was not until after that Empire was broken up that the growth 
of her maritime commerce ceased to compare favourably with that of the 
greatest of her rivals. The turning point seems to have been reached in 1692, 
when at the end of May the combined fleets of England and Holland in 
overwhelming force destroyed the fleet of Tourville at La Hogue. The 
exiled James saw in it only another disappointment; the English ministry, a 
proof that their fleet could be depended on ; the English people, a passing of 
the fear of invasion. Louis XIV., at the height of his glory, with the inviolate 
fortress of Namur at his feet, saw in this naval disaster only " the burning of 
a few ships." The perspective of time enables us to see that from it, and the 
subsequent neglect of the French Navy, ensued consequences, which were 
not written on the page of history until the signing of the Treaty of Paris 
in 1763. The revival of France's navy about this time, and the essential aid 
it gave to the revolted colonies of America, led to a loss to England, which 
seemed for generations greater, as far as America is concerned, than that of 
Canada, and proves how an earlier revival might have avoided disaster to France. 
Facile generalisations about the special aptitudes of one people for successful 
colonisation, and pre-eminence in the arts which are based on sea-faring, do not 
bear examination. History shows that such pre-eminence passed in distant 
centuries from one people to another about the shores of the Mediterranean. 
An Italian town, now without sea trade, once gave to the world a code of 
maritime law based on the practice of its merchant adventurers. Spain and 
Portugal were each in their turn foremost. Later, at a time when exploration 
for England was most successfully conducted by foreigners hired by her Tudor 
monarchs, native-born Frenchmen were establishing for their kings claims to the 
possession of vast and fertile spaces. Holland once stood in the forefront in 
maritime adventure. For a long time England has held this position, but it is 
to be remembered that, three score years since, the marine of her most splendid 
offshoot, the American Union, was, in quality at least, becoming the most formid- 
able of her rivals. If more northern nations may not succeed England in the 
front rank it is for reasons which were understood close on two centuries 
ago. These periods of expansion have been for each people most glorious and 
fruitful. Conquering on the sea, and the struggle with its dangers, have always 
produced an energy and a breadth of outlook which have invigorated every activity 
of the corporate life of these nations. If one would seek light for the future 
from the lessons of the past, it is found in the page of La Cour-Gayet on which he 
says, the imperial crown of overseas possessions rests on three supports colonies, 
a mercantile marine, and an adequate navy. The history of all ages makes 
clear that the latter cannot be neglected. 


It was not through ignorance of the supremacy of sea power that France 
fell from her pre-eminence as a colonial power. Maurepas shows a firm 
grasp of this doctrine. Even Desenclaves, a priest in Acadia, implies a 
knowledge of it in writing ; " What good is Louisbourg ? It would be good 
if France were as strong at sea as England." A Monsieur Du Plestay wrote 
in 1759: 

"France under Henri IV. and since has had no other object in its wars than to lessen 
the power of the House of Austria, which it suspected of aspiring to a universal monarchy. 
We have nothing more to fear on that side, but we are about to suffer the same 
disadvantage (on va tomber dans le meme inconvenient) in allowing England to usurp 
the sovereignty of the sea, which is at least as dangerous as the other, in this respect, that 
she increases her riches and prevents France enjoying hers, as you prove in the present 
war, and with her money produced by commerce, she excites against you enemies on land, 
who put it out of your power to use against them the resources, which otherwise ought 
to have been the case " (I.R. vol. 38). 

Indeed, the doctrine was never more succinctly stated than by a French 
poet of the period : 

" 3Le trfoent toe $epttme, c'est U sceptre tot ffiontoe." 





" So much depends upon the abilities of individuals in war, that there cannot be too great care in the choice of 
men for the different offices of trust and importance." WOLFE. 

THE notes which follow give biographical details of the chief French officers and their 
families, drawn for the most part from the dossiers in the Archives des Colonies and the 
Archives de la Guerre. The " dossier " of Prevost is given at length, as showing the 
varied service of a civil officer. The letter about Du Chemin indicates that at a time when 
Madame de Pompadour said that officers were resigning rather than serve in Canada, he 
was of a more heroic type. La Ronde Denys was a specimen of the colonial officer 
habituated to hardship and adventure rather than warfare. Johnstone is so picturesque a 
figure that more space is given to him than his importance in Louisbourg would 

It has not seemed necessary to give any account of the British officers. Such notes 
would be only abridgements of the articles in the National Dictionary of Biography. 
Parson's Life ofPepperrell^ Wright's Life and Letters of Wolfe^ and Mr. Beckles Willson's 
Life and Letters of Wolfe deal with the two principal characters. But on Wolfe this 
sketch of his appearance may be added from the little known Hamilton Manuscript in 
Harvard College Library. 

" General Wolfe was 5 feet 1 1 or six in heighth, very straight, his air and carriage 
perfectly military, his action free, his gestures open as those of an actor who feels no 
constraint, his hair red, generally worn in a queue, his face of a long oval, complexion 
very fair and much freckled his eyes were light, I think grey, and his mouth large, his 
nose, tho long, was large and open. Yet tho this assemblage of feature may not appear 
favorable there was a certain animation in the countenance and spirit in his manner that 
solicited attention & interested most people in his favor. To a small 8 vo. edition of the 
life of Eugene printed at Vienna in 1745 is prefixed a portrait of that great Prince, 
the lower part of the face strikes me as bearing a strong resemblance to that of 

William Vaughan, however, deserves to be made an exception. His zeal was great, 
even if his judgment in practical matters was unsound. Various documents dealing with 
his activities are, therefore, printed in full. 

3 i6 




Blenac Courbon. 


Madame Drucour to the Minister. 

Des Gouttes. 


La Ronde Denis. 

Marchaut de la Houliere. 




St. Julhien. 


La Tour du Chemin. 


List of Officers. 

Etats de Famille 1763 (?) 

Law of Feb. 25, 1791 extracts. 



He was born on the 23rd November 1723, in Auxonne Bourgogne. He was 
Volunteer in the Regiment Royal Comtois in 1740 ; in the Life Guards, Compagnie de 
Noailles, 3Oth January 1746 ; "Captain en Second" on the 25th April 1748 ; Lieutenant- 
Colonel of the "Volontaires Etrangers," ist June 1756; Lieutenant-Colonel of the 
Volontaires d'Austrasie, ist January 1760. He was retired in 1/63. He died on the 
9th March 1783. He had obtained the grade of Chevalier de Saint Louis. (Archives de 
Guerre. Dossier d'Anthonay.) 


Of Saintonge. Grandson of a former Post-captain who died when Governor-General 
of the West India Islands ; son and nephew of six Post-captains who died in the service. 
He was appointed Naval cadet (Garde Marine) 30th August 1725 ; Lieutenant, ist July 
1735 ; Post-captain, ist January 1746 ; Rear-Admiral, ist January 1757 ; Commandant at 
Brest, I5th February 1758; Lieutenant General, ist October 1764. He died on the 
23rd August 1766. (Marine, C 1 , 166.) 

He was born in 


He was appointed Garde de la Marine in 1719, Enseigne de 

Vaisseau in 1731, Lieutenant de Vaisseau in 1741, Lieutenant des Gardes de la Marine, 
1743, made Chevalier de Saint Louis on the I4th March 1749, appointed Captain de 
Vaisseau 17th May 1751, and Governor of L'Isle Royal on ist February 1754. He 
returned to naval service on the ist January 1759. He died on the 28th August 1762. 
All his sea service was as a midshipman or ensign Constantinople 1723, Martinique 1727, 
Louisiane 1717, 1730-31. Copenhagen 1733, 1734, 1735 and 1736. (A. Marine, C 7 , 89.) 

22. December 1758. 

Letter from Madame Drucour 

MR. ACCARON, 6. "Janvier 1759. 

MY LORD, After having undergone with great steadfastness the dangers and events of 

the Siege of Louisbourg, after having borne the fatigue of a long and perilous crossing, to 


go from England to France, my health has in the end given way under the weight of the 
cruel anxieties and the sorrow which consume me I was obliged to rest on the way and 
have not been able to reach Paris and bring you the letter and memoir which M. de 
Drucour honoured me with for you. 

Dare I ask you, my Lord, by what fatality the bravest officer, the most honest of men, 
and the best citizen who ever existed, finds himself to-day reduced to justify a conduct 
which (I dare assure you) has won for him the most marked consideration, the most 
perfect esteem, and the sincerest praise of the entire garrison which he had the honour to 
command ? It is not, my Lord, by praise and exaggeration of what happens to be done well, 
nor by evasions, subterfuges and excuses for what may have been done badly, that M. de 
Drucour justifies his conduct. Two memoirs which he sends you will allow you to view 
the unfolding of his conduct, one is an accurate journal and a detailed account of all that 
happened day by day, and so to speak hour by hour, since the time when the enemy came 
before Louisbourg till the surrender of the place. There are no reflections, no com- 
mentaries in this account, nothing but orders given and received, the facts testify for 
themselves, our sense of equity and our judgment will know how to appreciate them fully. 

The second memoir contains the detailed account of all that passed between the 
Marquis Desgoutes (des Gouttes) and the Governor of Louisbourg, the opposition which 
arose, and the difficulties proposed by the Commandant de la Marine. On the other hand, 
it contains the account of obstacles removed and the Governor's replies in accordance with 
the King's commands. 

There remain two points, my Lord, on which M. de Drucour can throw no light, 
because they are quite outside his province, one concerns the state of finances, the other 
the fortifications. These two points have contributed so much in bringing about the 
unfortunate catastrophe of the surrender, that it is only fair and even necessary to examine 
them with all possible care and severity. 

We must therefore keep constantly before our eyes the state of the fortifications of 
Louisbourg when the Governor was sent out there, we must know what has been done to 
them in these four years, whether the Governor placed difficulties, obstacles, and delays in 
the way, whether the work was thoroughly done and with appropriate thrift and economy, 
whether funds were sent out, and what they amounted to, to whom they were given in 
France, to whom they were passed on in Louisbourg, and whether proper use was made of 
them according to their quality and quantity. 

Ask, my Lord, for the memoirs and instructions which pertain to these matters, just 
as M. de Drucour gives you his for all which concerns his administration, prosecute 
embezzlement everywhere it may have occurred, independently of where it may be 
discovered, follow the evil to its roots, and if you find it, cut it ofF boldly, even if it be the 
head of M. de Drucour himself, he would be the first to take it to the scaffold j the good 
of the service, the interest of truth and of a good example, exact it, I speak according to 
M. de Drucour, my Lord, for his true feelings are those I am having the honour to lay 
before you. 

Will you permit me, my Lord, to end with a few remarks on the unhappy Governor 
of Louisbourg ; he has been for over forty years in the King's service, he has never left 
departmental or colonial service, the commanders under whom he has served, have all 
written the most flattering accounts of his conduct. He was appointed, because of his 


wisdom and good conduct, without solicitation, commander of the "Gardes du pavilion" 
(Midshipmen) in Brest ; he began at that time to cut into his patrimony, his income not 
sufficing, he said, to maintain with respect and dignity his position as commander of the 
young noblemen under his charge, whom, in order to gain their friendship and confidence, 
he entertained in turn at dinner every day. 

The King honoured him later with the Governorship of Louisbourg, without his 
having asked for it ; he ran through the remainder of his patrimony to comply with the 
expenses of his departure, which reduced him to borrowing money ; the drain is so real, that 
now he is without estate and without fortune ; he defies whomsoever will to indicate in 
France or elsewhere a spot where he possesses a coin in income of any kind whatsoever. 
M. de Drucour does not blush for his poverty, because he flatters himself that he has gained 
honour and repute, but he could not survive his honour compromised. Guilt is to him an 
overwhelming thought which he could never bear with, he does not ask your favour, my 
Lord, he demands justice, and I implore you urgently to give it him. 

I have the honour to be, with all possible respect, my Lord, your very humble and 
very obedient servant, 



Forgive the erasure, my Lord, and put it down to the weakness of my head. 

(Archives Nationales. P"- No. 4. Dossier C 7 y 89.) 


6 Janvier 7759. 22 X*"- /7J& 

MONSEIGNEUR. Apres avoir soutenue avec assds de fermets les dangers et les 
cvenements du Siege de Louisbourg, apres avoir essaye" les fatigues d'une traversed longue 
et peYilleuse pour passer d'engletere en france, ma sant a enfin succomb sous le poids des 
cruelles inquietudes et du chagrin qui me deVorent, j'ay 6te" contrainte de rester en chemin 
et je n'ay pu me randre a paris pour y porter la lettre et les mmoires que M. De Drucour 
m'avoit charg d'avoir 1'honneur de vous remettre. 

Oserais-je vous demander, Monseigneur, par quelle fatalit, le plus brave officier, le 
plus honncte homme, et le meilleur Citoyen qui fut jamais, se trouve rduit aujourd'hui a 
justifier une conduite qui (j'ose vous Passurer) lui a valu la consideration la plus marquee, 
restime la plus parfaitte et les dloges les plus sinceres de toutte la garnison qu'il avoit 
1'honneur de commander ? Ce n'est point, Monseigneur, par des loiianges et des exageYations 
sur ce qui peut etre bien fait, ce n'est point par des ddtours, des subterfuges et des excuses 
sur ce qui peut y avoir de mal fait, que M. De Drucour justifie sa conduitte, elle se trouvera 
developpee a vos yeux par les deux mmoires qu'il envoie, 1'un est un journal exact et un 
detail suivi de tout ce qui s'est passe jour par jour et pour ainsi dire heure par heure depuis 
que les ennemis ont paru devant Louisbourg jusqu'a la reddition de la place, il n'y a dans 
ce detail ni rdflections ni commentaires, ce sont les ordres donn6s et re^us, ce sont les faits 
qui doivent deposer par eux-mCmes, et que notre 6quit et notre discernement sauront bien 

Le segond mmoire contient le Detail de tout ce qui s'est pass6 entre M. le Marquis 
Desgoutes et le Gouverneur de Louisbourg, ce sont les positions qui ont 6t formers, et les 


difficultes qui ont &t& proposees par le Commandant de la Marine. Ce sont de 1'autre 
part les obstacles leve's et les re"ponses faites par le Gouverneur en conse'guance des ordres 
du Roy. 

II reste, Monseigneur, deux objets sur lesquels M. De Drucour ne peut donner aucun 
e'claircissement parce qu'ils sont absolument 6trengers a son administration, 1'un regarde 
1'^tat des finances, et 1'autre celui des fortifications. Ces deux parties ont tellement 
concuru a amener la malheureuse catastrophe de la reddition de la place, qu'il est bien 
juste et me'me indispensable de les examiner avec toutte 1'attention, et aussi avec toutte la 
seVeYite" possible. 

II faut done faire demeurer constant en quel 6tat toient les fortifications de 
Louisbourg lorsceque le Gouverneur y a it& envoye", savoir ce qui y a 6t& fait depuis 
quatre ans, s'il y a eu des difficultes, des obstacles, et des d61ais occasionne"s par le 
Gouverneur, savoir si les travaux ont &t& faits solidement, et avec les epargnes et les 
oeconomies convenables, savoir s'il y a eu des fonds envoyes et combien, a qui ils ont &t 
donnas en France, et a qui ils ont 6ti remis a Louisbourg, si on en a fait 1'usage ordonne" 
suivant la qualite" et quantite. 

Faites vous donner, Monseigneur, les mdmoires et les instructions qui regardent ces 
objets, comme M. De Drucour en donne pour ce qui regarde son Administration, poursuivs 
la malversation par tout et indistinctement ou elle poura tre apercue, suives le mal jusques 
dans la racine, si vous la trouves, Monseigneur, coupe"s-la hardiment, fut-ce la tete de M. 
De Drucour, il sera le premier a la porter sur 1'echafault, le bien du service, 1'interest de la 
ve'rite et le bon exemple 1'exigent, c'est, Monseigneur, d'apres M. De Drucour que je parle 
et ce sont ses vrais sentiments que j'ai 1'honneur de vous exposer. 

Qu'il me soit permis, Monseigneur, de finir par quelques reflections sur le malheureux 
Gouverneur de Louisbourg, il sert le Roy depuis plus de quarante ans, il n'a jamais quitte" 
les d^partements ou la Mer, les gnraux sous lesquels il a servi ont tous donne les 
apostilles les plus flatteuses sur son compte. II a &t6 nomm6 par sa sagesse et sa conduitte 
et sans sollicitation commandant des gardes du pavilion a brest, il commenca pour lors a 
entamer sa legitime, son revenu ne sufisant pas, disoit-il, pour usure avec defence et dignit 
a la tte de la jeune noblesse qu'il commandoit et auxquels pour s'attirer leur amide" et leur 
confiance il donnoit a manger tous les jours alternativement. Le Roy 1'a ensuitte honore* 
du Gouvernement de Louisbourg sans 1'avoir encore demand^, il y a achieve 7 de manger sa 
16gitime pour satisfaire aux avances de son depart, ce qui 1'a rduit a des emprunts pour 
lesquels la cotione" il est si vray et si re"el [V] qu'il est actuellement sans aucun bien et sans 
aucune fortune, qu'il defie qui que ce soit de pouvoir indiquer en France ou ailleurs un 
endroit ou il possede un Ecu de revenu dans quelque genre que ce puisse estre. M. De 
Drucour n'a point rougi de sa pauvret parce qu'il s'est flatt6 d'avoir acquis de 1'honneur et 
de la reputation, mais il ne pouvoit survivre a son honneur compromis, Coupable, c'est 
pour lui une idee accablante qu'il ne pourra jamais suporter, il ne vous demande pas de 
grace, Monseigneur, mais il vous demande justice, et je vous suplie instament de la lui 
vouloir bien accorder. 

J'ay 1'honneur d'estre avec tout le respect possible, Monseigneur, Votre tres humble et 
tres ob&ssante servante, COURSERAC DE DRUCOUR. 


pardonnds la rature, Monseigneur, a la foiblesse de ma t6te. 



of Moulins. The eldest son of Count des Gouttes, who died when Commandant of 
the Gardes-marine at Rochcfort ; grand-nephew of a Lieutenant-General in the navy and 
Grand Prior in Acquitaine ; he had five cousins who died in the service. 

He was appointed Naval Cadet (Garde Marine), May 25, 1725; Lieutenant, May I, 
1741; Post - captain, January i, 1746; retired with the pension of Rear-Admiral, 
September 16, 1/64. (Marine, C 1 , 166.) 


The Chevalier Johnstone was in Louisbourg with one interval from 1752 until the 
eve of the capitulation. The senior Captain of Prince Charles Edward's army, after 
escaping to France, he was pre-eminently unfortunate among unfortunate Jacobites. He 
did not succeed in having his rank in the Prince's army acknowledged by a corresponding 
grade in the French service, but took instead a commission as Enseigne en Second in the 
Louisbourg troops. The quotations given show that he wrote with a loose picturesque- 
ness, not suitable to a historian, but to him we owe touches, which let us see glimpses of 
the real life of the place, which we do not find in official correspondence. 

He began well with his brother officers by appearing as a man of spirit. On his first 
arrival he gave, on the ramparts of the town, the favourite promenade of its people, a 
thrashing to the captain of the ship on which he had come out. The cause of this 
outbreak was the captain's ill-treatment of him and his fellow passengers. It was so well 
thought of that Loppinot, the Major, remained away until he thought the rascal had 
enough. Johnstone kept the good opinion he thus gained by refusing to take sides in 
any quarrels, and busied himself with his garden, fishing the trout streams of the environs, 
and his books. He got promotion to a lieutenancy in 1754 together with the appointment 
of King's Interpreter, which gave him an income larger than a captain's. Not wishing, 
after the siege had ended, to fall into the hands of troops he had helped to break at Culloden, 
he escaped to Acadia and to Quebec, where Montcalm placed him on his staff. One 
wishes that more of his literary remains, which were considerable, had been concerned with 
Louisbourg. The edition of his memoirs quoted herein is that published by Wylie, 
Aberdeen, 1870-1871. It is probably as bad a translation as has ever been printed. Another 
memoir by him is "The Campaign of Louisbourg, 1750-1758," published both in Quebec 
MSS. Hist. vol. iii. p. 465, and in the Quebec Historical Society Publications, Second 
Series, 1868. 

Johnstone appears in fiction as Maxwell in The Span o Life by William McLennan 
and Miss Jean N. Mclllraith, New York, Harpers. 

[Duplicata.J A M. JOHNSTON. 

28 Sore /7jg. 

MONSEIGNEUR. Etant Lieutenant de la compagnie de Mezilliac Je me suis trouv 
detachc avec cette compagnie a 1'Jsle St. Jean I'ann6e derniere lorsque Louisbourg fut prise. 
En apprenant la Reddition de cette place et que PJsle St. Jean fut comprise dans la capitula- 
tion, le zele et ardeur que j'ay toujours eu de me rendre utile au service m'avoient engag 


a me retirer en Canada. J'ay servi cette eampagne aidecamp a*M. Le Chevr. de Levis 
jusqu'a apres 1'affaire de 31 Juillet qu'il a parti de 1'arm^e de Qudbecq pour visiter les postes 
des Rapides et 1'Isle aux Noix ; a son Depart de Beaufort Je restai avec M. de Montcalm, 
et Je servai en qualit de son aidecamp jusqu'a sa mort. Je suis bien persuade^ Monseigneur, 
qu'il vous en reviendra des tmoignages favorables de mes services par M. de Levis, et il 
seroit inutile de dire combien J'tois estim par le brave, mais infortune' M. de Montcalm ; 
J'6tois prpos par luy de porter ses pacquettes en france, et Je ne doute pas que votre 
Grandeur auroit eu des Egards pour sa recommandation en accordant ses demandes en ma 
faveur. Sa mort m'est prejudiciable d'autant plus que J'aurois pu, par ses moyens, m'attirer 
1'Influence, Monseigneur, de vos bonnes Grices. 

M. le Marqs. de Puysieulx et M. le Marshal de Lhomond, qui me font 1'honneur de 
me prot^ger, vous diront, Monseigneur, le dsagr6ment que J'ay eu au service des colonies. 
J'6tois capitaine d'une compagnie en 1745, et M. Rouill6 en 1750 m'envoyoit a 1'Jsle 
Royale avec la simple commission d'Enseigne, que J'avois accepr.6 par soumission aux ordres 
de M. de Puysieulx et par ses promesses d'avoir toujours soins de mes intents. Comme je 
suis icy le premier Lieutenant, ma commission de Lieutenant pour 1'Isle Royale 6tant date 
le i er d'Avrile 1754, il seroit un effet de votre Equit6 et bont^, Monseigneur, de m'accorder 
une de deux compagnies vacantes par la mort de M. la perriere et M. de St. Ours, qui furent 
tu6s dans I'affaire du 13 de Sepre. Je tacherai autant qu'il m'est possible par mon zele et 
application au bien du service de mdriter 1'honneur, Monseigneur, de votre bienveillance. 

J'ay 1'honneur d'etre avec un tres profond Respect, Monseigneur, Votre tres humble 
et tres obissant serviteur, 


P.S. J'aurois pass6 en France cet automne mais M. de Vaudreuil m'en avoit refus6 
la permission. 

le 28 Octobre 

A Monseigneur de Sartine^ Ministre et Secretaire d'Etat de la Marine. 

77 Mars. 

MONSEIGNEUR. Jacques Johnstone de Moffat, Chevalier de 1'ordre de St. Louis, 
Descendant de la Maison de Johnstone Marquis d'Annandale, Paire d'Ecosse, et 1'HeVitier 
de cette Pairie a la mort du present Marquis d'Annandale, il 6toit le premier capitaine 
de l'Arm6e du Prince Edouard par sa commission de capitaine en date du 21 de Septembre, 
1745, et a servi avec sa compagnie depuis le commencement jusqu'a la fin de 1'Expedition 
de eel Prince en Ecosse. S'^tant sauv en France en 1746 apres la Bataille de Culloden 
II auroit pu tre plac en 1747 Lieutenant Collonel en Espagne, Collonel en Russie ou II 
cut alors un oncle, le Comte Douglas, Lieutenant G6ne>al et Gouverneur de Revel et il 
auroit pu ^tre plac6 tres avantageusement en Suede ou II cut un autre oncle S6nateur : II n'a 
pas profit^ de ces offres, favorables pour sa fortune, par les vaines espeVances qu'il entretenoit 
alors que la cour de France auroit renvoy6 le Prince Edouard en Ecosse avec une Arme. 

Lorsque le Prince Edouard fut arrt6 en 1748 et chass hors du Royaume M. le 
Marquis de Puysieulx, qui estimoit et protgeoit particulierement le chevalier Johnstone, 
demandat de M. Rouill6 une compagnie pour lui a St. Domingue ou a la Martinique, dont 
la lettre de M. de Puysieulx doit se trouver aux Registres du Bureau de la Marine : Mais 



M. Rouillc', nouvellement Ministre, au lieu d'une compagnie, fit expdier pour lui un Brevet 
d'Enseii^ne en Pied a 1'Isle Royale. Choqu6 d'etre le seul Ecossois rtrograd, tous ses com- 
patriotes ayant M place's dans les troupes de terre par M. le Comte D'Argenson avec les me'mes 
commissions qu'ils avoient eu du Prince Edouard, il refusa d'abord de 1'accepter ; mais sur 
les promesses rc'itc're'es de M. de Puysieulx de lui faire obtenir incessamment une compagnie, 
et sur les assurances trompeuses de M. de la Port que sa commission de capitaine seroit a 
Louisbourg aussttot que lui, il s'embarquat et se rendit a Louisbourg en 1750, victime en 
plein de sa bonne foy et crdulit. 

Apres la prise de Louisbourg en 1758 il se sauva en Accadie et dela en Canada ou il 
continual ses services avec distinction, zele et utilit en qualitd d'Aide-de-Camp de M. de 
Levis, ensuite Aide-de-Camp de M. de Montcalm jusqu'a sa mort le 21 de Septembre, 
1759, et alors il se remit avec M. de Levis. En outre ses fonctions d'Aide-de-camp, 
n'avant pas suffisamment des Ing6nieurs dans notre arm6e pour fortifier 1'Etendtle de deux 
lieues de terrein occupd par notre camp pres de Quebec, il se chargeat de tracer et conduire 
les fortifications de la Gauche de notre Arme, et c'6toit a la Redoute et Batterie qu'il 
avoit fait ou les Anglois firent leur Descente le 31 de Juillet 1759 et furent repousses; II 
avoit encore 1'occupation de traduire en francois tous les papiers Anglois ainsi que les 
Depositions des Prisonniers et des D6serteurs. II y a cy-joint une Lettre et un certificat 
de ses services par M. de Levis. Accabie et totalement puis6 de fatigue par tant de 
difF<rentes emplois, sans autre lit que la terre toute cette campagne, sans avoir le terns de 
dormir deux heures dans les vingt-quatre, et sans jamais oter ses Habits que pour changer 
de Linge ni ses Bottes que pour changer des Bas, II espeVoit, Mon seigneur, pouvoir parvenir 
aux premiers Grades militaires par son application continuelle a PEtude des difFerentes 
Branches de 1'Art Militaire, par son Experience, par 1'Exces du zele qu'il t^moigna dans 
toutes les occasions ou il pouvoit contribuer au bien du service et par sa naissance. Mais 
le sort 1'avoit condamn a croupir dcsagr<^ablement au service de France, et a vieillir dans 
les Pel nes sans relAche ; le seul de ses compatriotes qui avoit entr au service de la Marine, 
et le seul qui avoit t honteusement retrograde par une commission inferieure a celle du 
Prince Edouard. II se croyoit fonde de demander le Brevet de Collonel sans appointements 
afin de lui donner de consideration parmi ses compatriotes en Ecosse, qui 1'avoient vu 
Capitaine en 1748 et servir a la te'te de sa compagnie avec honneur et Distinction. 

Lorsqu'il revint en France en 1760 prisonnier avec les troupes de Canada M. Berryer 
lui accordat en Recompense de ses services une pension de trois cents livres sur le Tremor 
Royal. En 1761 tant pret a partir pour rejoindre le corps de 1'Isle Royale a Rochefort il 
apprit que M. Accaron, 1'ayant cru appartenir au corps de Canada, 1'avoit reform^ avec les 
Canadiens, en lui accordant six cents livres de retraite sur les fonds des colonies ; et II fit 
son possible sans parvenir a faire retracter cet Erreur impardonnable de M. Accaron. Est- 
ce done, Monseigneur, sa faute s'il n'a pas continue en activit de service ? Le BeVeu d'un 
premier commis doit-il rejaillir sur lui et lui fermer la porte des Graces qu'il eut lieu 
d'esprer par ses services ? Est-ce que la cour de France ne recompense que les services 
presents sans aucun 6gard aux services passes ? M. le Due de Choiseul convertit en pension 
ces 600 liv. de Retraite, et M. le Due de Praslin transferrat sur les fonds des colonies en 
rdunissant les deux pensions en une seule de 900 liv. II vous supplie, Monseigneur, de faire 
expdier un Brevet pour sa pension de 900 liv. selon la nouvelle ordonnance afin qu'il le 
porte chez M. de Savalete. 


Jacques Johnstone de Moffatt, maison de M. Jourdan rue fromantau, Quartier du 
palais royal a Paris. 


Enseigne de vaisseau et capitaine d'une compagnie du de"tachement de La Marine en 
Canada vous reprsente tres respectueusement, qu'il y a quarante-deux ans qu'il a 1'honneur 
de servir Le Roy premierement en qualite de garde de La Marine et d'Enseigne de vaisseau, 
et ensuitte de capitaine dans laquelle il sert actuellement. II a command^ des vaisseaux 
e"tant garde de la Marine et n'a pas discontinue d'armer tant qu'il a 6td dans le service. 

1687. 11 a 6t6 fait garde de la Marine et a servy au departement de Rochefort jus- 
qu'en quatre-vingt-neuf. 

1689. II a arm dans le St. Michel avec Mr. de gabaret chef d'escadre ou il a passe 
en Irlande Le Roy Jacques, et dans la mesme campagne il s'est trouvd au combat de bantry. 

1690. II a arme dans le courageux commande par Mr. de Sevigny monmoron, et fut 
au combat de la Manche. 

1691. dans Fexcellent avec Mr. du Rivaux huet ou il croisa tout 1'hyver dans la 
Manche et fit la campagne de Large. 

1692. dans 1'envieux avec Mr. de bonaventure faisant fonction d'Enseigne pendant 
la campagne qui fut en Canada, et de la croiser sur les cotes de la nouvelle angleterre. 

1693. dans la suzanne francoise avec Mr. de bonaventure pour aller a 1'acadie ou il 
servoit lieutenant. 

1694. dans 1'Entendu avec M. du guesne ou il servoit d'officier et furent dans la 
Mediterranee ou ils prirent palamos et gironne. 

1695. dans 1'envieux avec Mr. de bonaventure ou il e"toit Enseigne et fut a 1'acadie 
ou ils se battirent centre une fregate angloise et furent de la a plaisance ou il trouva Mr. de 
belair capitaine de vaisseau qui commandoit le fourbe lequel manquoit de Lieutenant ayant 
perdu le sien nomme du bretiil en se battant, ce qui fut cause qu'il le prit en sa place, et 
dans la traversee ils prirent un vaisseau anglois de seize canons qu'il luy donna a commander. 
Etant a 1'aterrage de france il fit rencontre d'une Escadre angloise qui le prirent et le 
menerent prisonnier en irlande. 

1696. II a reste dans les prisons d'irlande. 

1697. II a arm ^ dans le vesp commande par le chevallier de chastrier dans 1'escadre de 
Mr. d'Iberville, pour aller a La baye d'hudson ou il servoit de Lieutenant, ils prirent les 
forts et coulerent a fond L'amiral anglois, prirent un vaisseau et mirent le reste de 1'escadre 
angloise en deroutte. 

1698. dans 1'envieux a la cote de 1'acadie ou il 6toit Enseigne. 

1699. dans le nioport avec Mr. de courbon St. Leger pour croiser a la cote de 1'a- 
cadie contre les forbans, il etoit Enseigne et avoit la charge du vaisseau par ordre du Roy 
par la parfaite connoissance qu'il avoit de cette cote-la. 

1700. dans la renommee avec Mr. d'iberville pour aller au Misissipi, y tant enseigne 
II fut pendant cinq mois dans le fleuve a en faire la dcouverte suivant les ordres qu'il en 
avoit du Sr. d'Iberville. 

1701. Sa Majeste" luy donna le commandement de L'enflamme pour aller au 
Misissipi y porter des munitions ; il resta dix-sept mois dans sa campagne. 


1702. dans la Loire commanded par le chevallier de gabaret, ou il (-toil Lieutenant 
pour aller en Canada y mener Mr. de Beauharnois Intendant et dans la traversed ils prirent 
un vaisseau anglois la nuit ou il fut dangereusement blessl a lY-paule et fut contraint de 
rester en Canada nYtant pas gucYi au depart du vaisseau. 

1703. II revint en France dans la seine commanded par Mr. Le chevallier de 
Beauharnois y faisant fonction dc second Lieutenant dans la traversed. 

1704. dans la Seine avec Mr. Le Chevallier de Maupeou pour aller en Canada ou il 
Itoit second Lieutenant ; dans la traversed ils firent rencontre de la flotte de virgine 
composite de cinq vaisseaux dc guerre qui les attaquerent et apres dix-sept heures de combat 
dtant tout dlsempares ils furent pris et mencs en angleterre. 

1705. dans le profond avec Mr. cauvet pour aller a Pacadie faisant fonction de 
premier Lieutenant dans la traversed, en arrivant a 1'acadie il prit Le commandement d'une 
frigate de quatorze canons que le Roy y avoit fait construire pour croiser sur la cote de la 
nouvelle angleterre. 

1707. Etant en rade dans la frigate du Roy La biche prt a faire voile pour aller 
croiser il entra une flotte angloise dans le port Royal qui venoit pour Passilger, il fut 
contraint dYchoiier sa frigate sous le fort, et fut detachd par subercase a la tte de 
cent trente hommes pour aller s'opposer au passage de la petite Riviere, ou devoient passer 
Les ennemis qui etoient au nombre de quinze cents, il les repoussa deux fois, mais a la 
force il fallut elder et il revint au fort en se battant toujours en retraitte. Pendant le siege 
il commanda toujours le bastion Royal qui faisoit face aux ennemis, Et apres La Levle du 
siege il s'embarqua sur la frigate pour en porter la nouvelle au Roy. 

1708. II commanda La vlnus pour aller a L'Acadie porter des munitions de guerre 
dans le cour de Phyver et arriva au commencement d'avril, de la il fut croiser sur les cotes de 
la nouvelle angleterre ou il fit plusieurs prises et fut dlsarml a plaisance. 

1709. II fit un armement avec Mr. de St. ovide de brouillant dans le mois de 
dlcembre avec cent soixante hommes pour aller prendre la cote angloise, ou ils rlussirent 
fort bien, puisqu'ils prirent les forts de St. jean Le premier de Janvier, ou ils trouverent 
plus de mille hommes portant les armes, tant trouppes qu'habitants, ils firent sauter au 
printemps tous les forts et ranconnerent La cote et amenerent dans la virtus toute 
Partillerie a plaisance il mena a qulbec Le Gouverneur, les officiers et soldats de la garnison 
de St. jean, et les remit entre les mains de Mr. Le Marquis de vaudrettil par lequel il fut 
retenu L'ltl entier pour commander la Marine pour la deffence de qulbec qui Itoit menace" 
d'estre attaqul, apres quoy il porta des vivres a la garnison et colonie de plaisance, qui sans 
ce secours seroit plrie de faim pendant Phyver, tous ces voyages furent dans des saisons tres 
mauvaises et ont pensl le faire plrir plusieurs fois. 

1710. II arma dans la Loire pour venir a L'Acadie Itant arrive" a plaisance ils 
apprirent qu'elle Itoit prise, ce qui fit qu'il resta a plaisance par ordre de Mr. de Costebelle. 

1711. II fut dltachl par Mr. de Costebelle gouverneur pour aller a boston y nlgocier 
slcrettement la neutralite de ces peuples avec ceux de Canada pour affbiblir par ce moyen 
les secours que la nouvelle angleterre donneroit pour la conqueste de La nouvelle france, a 
quoy il auroit rlussy sans les contretemps qui arriverent (dont sa Majestl fut informle 
exactement par led. Sr. de Costebelle), qui mirent plusieurs fois sa vie en danger. 

1712. II receut un ordre du Roy pour aller Itablir L'isle Royalle, il passa dans le 
samselac avec Mr. St. ovide de brouillant. 



1713. Pendant 1'hyver il fut occupe" a parcourir la profondeur des forests et les Lacs de 
cette isle dont il donna la carte au commandant de Louisbourg, mise au net par le Sr. de 
couagne sous-inge'nieur, apres quoy il fut command^ pour aller au port Royal, aux mines, et 
a beaubassin, cotes de L'acadie pour empescher les habitants de se soumettre a la domination 
angloise, parce que ces lieux-la ne font pas partie de la nouvelle cosse ou accadie suivant les 
anciennes limites cddes par le traitt d'utrecht, il russit si heureusement que ces peuples 
consentirent de ne prefer jamais serment de fid61it au Roy de la grande bretagne, et de se 
conserver fidelles au Roy de france leur souverain. 

1714. II fut command^ a son retour de 1'Acadie dans le mois de Janvier pour aller en 
france porter les pacquets de Mr. Costebelle a la cour, il cut le malheur de faire naufrage 
en arrivant a La cote de bretagne, d'ou il prit la poste pour se rendre a Versailles, ou il se 
trouva nomme commandant du Port-thoulouse, s'y 6tant rendu apres beaucoup de difficultez 
il a continu6 d'y servir jusqu'en mil sept cent vingt. 

1720. II receut un ordre du Roy pour aller servir en Canada. Etant pre't de partir 
pour s'y rendre il cut ordre de Mr. de St. ovide de suivre Le sr. gaudeville, commandant la 
flotte de L'isle st. jean pour contribuer a l'6tablissement de cette isle, ce qu'il fit. 

1721. II resta par ordre du Roy dans liste pour second commandant. 

1722. II receut un ordre du Roy pour commander a la place du Sr. gaudeville, ce 
qu'il n'a pas pu exdcuter, Mr. de Beaucourt Lieutenant de Roy de L'isle Royalle ayant eu 
un pareil ordre. 

1723. Mr. Le Marquis de Vaudrettil jugea a propos de 1'envoyer par terre a Baston 
avec le Sr. Lagesse officier des trouppes, son ordre est du cinq octobre mil sept cent vingt 
trois, il s'y rendit avec beaucoup de difficultez et executa L'ordre et les instructions qui luy 
avoient ete donne'es a la satisfaction de Mr. de vaudretiil mais ce voyage et la plus part des 
precedents luy ont beaucoup coute", par ce qu'il n'a pas et rembource' des defences qu'il y 
a faites. 

1724. II a 6t nomm par M. Le Marquis de beauharnois pour aller commander a la 
pointe de chaouarigon qui est a six cents lieues de Quebec ; Etant arriv6 dans ce poste il 
a retir un collier de cette nation qui avait 6t envoy de la part des iroquois pour detruire 
les francois et la remis a Mr. le Marquis de beauharnois. II a fait la de"couverte d'une mine 
de cuivre Rouge dont il a apport6 un morceau qu'il a remis h. Mr. le Marquis de 
Beauharnois et donn par ecrit la connoissance du Lieu ou elle est ; ces services luy font 
esperer que Mr. Le Marquis de Beauharnois, gouverneur et Lieutenant general pour le Roy, 
voudra bien 6crire en sa faveur a la cour. 


He was born in Paris on the 6th of March 1717. His father was Francois Marchaut, 
" Interess dans les affaires du Roi." 

He was appointed Ensign and Lieutenant in the Lyonnais in 1733, Captain in 1734, 
Lieutenant Colonel in 1746, Major in 1747, King's Lieutenant (Bellegarde) in 1751, 
King's Lieutenant (Salces) in 1753, Brigadier in 1770. 

After Louisbourg de la Houliere apparently returned to Salces in the same position, 
and brought back from his imprisonment in England the art of casting cannon with coal 
instead of charcoal. He superintended an experiment to this end at Nantes in 1776. The 


spirit of the times seized him. In 1789 he addressed a memoir to Vergennes advocating 
free maritime trade, and saw this splendid vision: "What glory will accrue from it to 
Louis XVI., who has already freed the Americans and the French, in becoming the 
universal peacemaker among the nations who inhabit both hemispheres, in destroying the 
seed of almost all wars, and of being seconded in so splendid a task by the National 
Assembly and his Ministers ! ' (" ^)uelle Gloire en servit a Louis XVI, qui a dja rendu 
les Americains et les Francois libres, de devenir le Conciliateur universe! des peuples qui 
habitent les deux hemispheres, de d6truire le germe de presque toutes les guerres et d'etre 
scconde dans une Si Belle Entreprise par 1'Assemblce Nationale et ses Ministres ! ") 

Such was not the lot of Louis XVI. De la Houliere, like the optimists of the time, 
was swept on with the title. In 1793 he was a General of Division in the Republican 
army of the Eastern Pyrenees, and meeting disaster wrote to his chief, General Flers : "I 
hope that you wiil not be angry, and that you may not be, like me, a victim of treacheries, 
this I fear for you, for the Republic. Adieu. THE FAITHFUL REPUBLICAN." (" Je souhaite 
que vous n'en f&chiez pas, et que vous ne soyez pas comme moi Victime des Trahisons, 
ce que je crains pour vous, pour la Republique. Adieu. LE FIDELLE REPUBLICAIN." 

On another sheet he wrote : "Suspect no one of my death, have delivered to you my 
letters, you will be enlightened ; I am dying as a brave man, grievously afflicted by the 
misfortunes of his country, and I die as a faithful Republican this i8th of June 1/93. 
LA HOULIERE, Blameless Patriot." ( u Ne soup^onnez personne de ma mort, faites rendre 
mes Lettres, vous serez dclaircis ; je fais la mort d'un brave homme douloureusement 
affect^ de sa patrie, et je meurs en fiddle Rpublicain ce 18 Juin 1793. LA HOULIERE, 
irrprochable patriote.") 

Flers wrote to the Minister on the 24th June that de la Houliere had shot himself and 
died three or four days afterwards. 1 So ended, in Perpignan, a career begun in Paris seventy- 
six years before, which touches our narrative for a few months. In these months he did 
what he could is the verdict of one observer : " His (Drucour's) assistant, who joined him 
some days before the arrival of the Enemy, had somewhat the same cast of temperament, 
he has talent and goodwill, he has seen lengthy service, but nevertheless he is not one of 
those men made to command, besides he was hampered by a bad leg, which prevented him 
from acting as he would have wished, and he arrived too late to have a wide enough 
knowledge of the work that had to be done, he did what he could." ("L'Adjoint qui lui 
parvint quclques jours avant I'arriv^e des Ennemis toit a peu pres de la meme trempe, il a 
de 1'Esprit de la bonne Volonti, il a servi Longtemps, mais malgre Cela Ce n'dtoit point 
de Ces homines faits pour Commander, d'ailleurs incommod d'une jambe qui 1'empechoit 
d'agir Comme il auroit Voulu, et arriv6 trop tard pour prendre une connaissance assez 
Etendue de la besoigne qu'il avoit a faire, il ne Pouvoit faire que ce qu'il a fait.") 2 


Alexandre Boisdescourt de la Maisonfort was a son-in-law of Mons. Chicoyneau, 
Premier Medicine du Roy, Principal Physician to the King, and Chancellor of the 
University of Montpellier. He began his life as page to the Comte de Toulouse, became 

1 Archives de Guerre. Dossier de la Houliere. - Journal du Sitge de Lcuisbsurg, 1758. Poilly. 


3 2 7 

a Garde de la Marine 1699, Ensigne 1703, Lieutenant 1712, and Captain in 1731. He 
was in the Indies in 1704, but his service was mostly on shore. He commanded a vessel 
only on three cruises before he was given the Vigilant. In 1732 he served on the 
Brilliant or Fleuron^ which made a voyage to Louisbourg. On a plan made by him is 
his journal. His pleasure-loving instincts which made him prefer shore service betrays 
itself in these notes. Regretting orders which gave them no shore leave at Cadiz, 
he speaks of this beautiful and magnificent city, full of very many young ladies whose 
acquaintance is easy to make, "Peuplez de grande quantite" de demoiselles avec qui la 
connoissance est facile k faire." 1 He was never given a sea command after 1745, or rather 
after his return from an English prison in the spring of 1746. His gallantry is obvious 
from the account of the fight with Warren's ships. 2 It may be noted that in the wider 
outlook on the course of events his judgment was sound. Don Antonio D'Ulloa was a 
fellow-prisoner with him in England, and to him Maisonfort gave his views on the New 
England colonies. Maisonfort claimed that in a century the Province of Boston would be 
a nation so extensive and populated that it would surpass in these respects that of England, 
and would be in a position to impose its will on all neighbouring countries. The context 
shows that he includes in the Province of Boston all the colonies from Pennsylvania north- 
wards. He speaks with enthusiasm of the people and their condition. 3 

He was ordinarily spoken of as the Marquis de la Maisonfort. His title of Marquis 
was not recognized officially, which places him among those who made up the crowd in 
the first scene of Cyrano de Bergerac. The official transcript of his services says : " Le 
commandement qu'il a eu d'un V'au pour 1'Isle Royale ne lui a pas fait honneur." 4 (" The 
command which he had of a ship for Isle Royale did him no credit.") 


Seigneur et Marquis de St. Colombe, born January 24, 1706, at Pergau. Ensign in Gensac, 
August 30, 1724; Lieutenant in Gensac, July 16, 1725; transferred to Bourgogne, 
April 17, 1727; Captain in Bourgogne, January n, 1738; Captain of Grenadiers in 
Bourgogne, July 24, 1747 ; Commandant de Bataillon, January 6, 1755 ; rank of 
Lieutenant-Colonel, February 19, 1755; Lieutenant-Colonel, June 24, 1758; retired 
with pension, May 21, 1766 ; died, March 22, 1782. 

He is described as "a good officer, fit to be Lieutenant-Colonel without however 
having very superior abilities." He received a pension of 600 livres for his distinguished 
services at Louisbourg, February i, I763- 5 



1729, Under Clerk; 1732, Clerk to the King; 1735, Chief Clerk. During these 
six years he was engaged in turn at the Ports of Rochefort, with various details concerning 
the construction and repairing of ships, building sheds, principal store-house, fitting out of 
ships, enrolment of seamen, and artillery. He made a voyage to Canada, and in 1735 was 

1 The map is Bib. Nat. C. 3714. 
3 Voyage au Perou. liv. iii. chap. ix. 

2 His technical judgment is dealt with in Chap. XV. 
4 C 1 , vol. 167. 5 Archives de la Guerre. 


singled out by M. Maurepas to go to PIsle Royale in the capacity of Commissioner under 
the orders of M. Ic Normand de Mezi, who was at that time " Ordonnateur." 

1737, Acting Commissioner. He was sent to France with two ships, the Marie 
Angllique and U Union, by order of Mrs. de St. Ovide de Brouillant and le Normant, 
Governor and " Ordonnateur," as the result of a council held in consequence of a scarcity of 
provisions, in order to set forth before the Minister the deplorable state of the colony, and 
obtain aid, which M. dc Maurcpas charged him with taking back himself. He returned 
to the colony the following October, with the relief granted, but he had to go through 
ice-fields, and the weather was so stormy that both he and the crew fell ill, and in 1738 he 
was obliged to return to France and recover his health. 

In 1739 M. Maurepas ordered him again to the Colonies, at the time when there was 
a change of Governor and " Ordonnateur " ; he was charged with the details concerning the 
warehouse, the hospitals, and artillery; he was added to the "Conseil Superieur." 
Louisbourg was attacked and taken in 1745 ; he was wounded in this siege, and lost the 
greater part of his property as well as his wife's fortune. 

He was appointed "Commissaire de la Marine" on the 1st of April 1764, and 
Maurepas, satisfied with his services, considered him capable of filling a position as 
"Ordonnateur" in countries which M. le Due d'Enville (Anville) might conquer. 

M. Prevost received an order that, so as to conceal his destination, he should place all 
his furniture, provisions, and personal property on a little ship from La Rochelle, called 
La Di/igtntfj which was following the Armada (Tarmle navale\ and to embark on the 
King's ship La Boree. This voyage was as difficult and disheartening as exhausting, but 
he (Prevost), more than any one, experienced its misfortunes, for the Diligente was lost on 
Sable Island in the storm of September 13, 1746, with all his belongings on board. And 
in the following December the Boree, on which he was, also got shipwrecked on entering 
Port Louis, so that he was saved almost naked and was confined to his bed for all the 
winter with scorbutic rheumatism, of which he will