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chief-justice of Nova Scotia, who, of course, decided against the Acadians.
When the French government was apprised of the scheme to rob the unfortunate Acadians, they asked that they be allowed the privilege of taking their personal effects and choosing themselves a future home.
"No," the English governor answered; "they are too useful subjects to be lost; we must enrich our colonies with them.”
Several days before the day on which Jean Baptiste De Barre was to wed Adrianne Blanc, the Acadians, realizing their danger, addressed a touching memorial to the council at Halifax, which was borne by a deputation of educated men. In this memorial they asked for the restitution of the guns and canoes of the people for domestic use, promising fidelity as a ransom for them. Governor Lawrence, president of the council, treated the document with scorn, declaring it“ Highly arrogant, insidious and insulting.”
“Why do you want your boats?” he asked. “ To carry food to the enemy? and I would remind you that a law of the British realm forbids all Roman Catholics having arms in their houses.” He scolded the deputies without mercy, declaring, “ It is not the language of British subjects to talk of terms with the crown, or capitulate about their fidelity and allegiance. What excuse can you make for your presumption in treating this government with such indignity as to expound to them the nature of fidelity ? Manifest your obedience by immediately taking the oaths required before the council.”
The deputies, astounded and alarmed, answered:
“We will do as our people may determine; let us go home and consult with them.”
The deputation was dismissed for the day, and, during the night, hearing of the decision of the chief-justices of Nova Scotia, they became alarmed and at early dawn hastened to the governor and offered to take the oath; but the governor stubbornly shook his head and answered:
“You cannot be permitted to do so now. By a law of the realm, Roman Catholics who have once refused to take the oaths cannot be permitted to do so afterward and are considered Popish recusants.”
The ambassadors were astounded to learn that they were under arrest, and in twenty minutes they were in irons and cast into prison. The chiefjustice insisted that all the French inhabitants, including hundreds of innocent families, were rebels and Popish recusants; that they stood in the way of English interests in the country; that they had forfeited their possessions to the crown, and advised against the receiving of any French inhabitants to take the oath, insisting on the removal of all from the province.
A more cruel edict never went forth from a tyrant. No wonder Longfellow's heart was so touched by the scene, that his facile pen produced the sweet, sad, immortal story of “Evangeline.” The execution of this cruel measure speedily followed the utterances of the opinions of the chiefjustice. A general proclamation was at once issued ordering all the Acadians, “old men and young men and lads of ten years of age,” to assemble at designated places on the 5th of September, 1755.
Monsieur De Barre had not heard of the edict, and on this morning stood with his son in blissful ignorance of the fact that he was gazing on the last sunrise at Grand Pre.
“Jean, have you made up your quarrel with Captain Winslow ?” asked Monsieur De Barre.
“No, father; he has not apologized.”
“He is a bad man. He comes of a good family; yet many a bad man comes of a good family.”.
“ Can he harm us, father?”
“We know not what power he may have. The English are the conquerors of Acadia, and the Acadian can hope for little sympathy among them, especially since they covet these fertile lands."
“ Father, you really seem alarmed !” cried Jean.
“ There was something in his manner really menacing.”
“Have no fears of him, father,” the young man responded with all the assurance and hope of youth. “ He is powerless to harm me. I vanquished him once, and I doubt not that I can do so again, should the occasion demand.”
“Who is he coming across the field ?” “It is Monsieur Dupre.”
An old man was seen coming across the meadow. He was a typical Acadian, with short blouse, broad hat and knee breeches. His long hair hanging about his shoulders was made the sport of the wind, while his face was expressive of alarm. The golden-rods, which nodded their gayly plumed heads in his path, and the small birds which twittered before him in flocks, were unseen and unheard. Monsieur Dupre was engaged with too serious matters to enjoy the birds and flowers, lover of nature as he was.
"Monsieur De Barre! Monsieur De Barre!” he cried, almost out of breath.
“What is it, Monsieur? What has gone amiss ?” asked Monsieur De Barre.
Monsieur Dupre sank down upon the bench
which extended the full length of the piazza and clasping his face with his hands gasped for breath. Father and son gazed on the old man with some degree of alarm for a moment, when Monsieur De Barre asked:
“What is it, Monsieur Dupre? Your conduct alarms us.”
“Have you not heard ?”
“Truly, we were in have heard nothing.”
“Wait until I regain my breath.” For several mo
"It is MONSIEUR ments the mon
DUPRE.” sieur breathed heavily and then said: “Do you know that the chief-justice has decided that we have forfeited all our possessions in Acadia ?”
The father was unmoved, while his son stood with bosom swelling with indignation. Neither spoke; but Monsieur De Barre remembered the malignant look on the face of Captain Winslow. Jean said nothing. The old man still sat upon the