Acadia - Missing Links of a Lost Chapter in American History
Chapter XXXII


Lawrence’s administration reviewed—Facts linked together showing his early design to deport the Acadians. his interested motives and his clever tactics to bring it about without endangering his ambitious projects—How he deceived the Home authorities —Repeated charges against him by Halifax people—Their truth finally admitted by the Secretary of State—His timely death saves him from disgrace.

I have asserted elsewhere that Lawrence’s motive for the deportation was speculation on the live stock of the Acadians. The time has now come to prove this, and I hope the proof will convince the most sceptical. It is easy to see that here was an opportunity for a line stroke of business. But I must again remind the reader that we are indicting a man of rare skill, whose power was absolute, and over whom, practically, there was no effectual control. He had been able to arrange, far in advance, his method of operation and the way to efface all vestige of his crime. Every one knows how difficult it is, in spite of our democratic institutions, in spite of the watchfulness-of representative assemblies, of the press and of special departments scientifically organized, in spite of interlacing and counter-checking responsibilities, to bring home the proofs of fraud to rulers or even to their subordinate officers. Nor is there question here of a contemporary, tangible fraud, concerning which a commission could be instituted, a tribunal chosen, witnesses called and public or private documents in-spec ted. The fraud was committed 137 years ago (I wrote this in 1892). And yet I think the evidence I am going to produce would be sufficient to ensure Lawrence’s condemnation by our courts of law, or, to say the least, at the bar of public opinion. The evidence is, of course, partly circumstantial; but that does not impair its strength; more than one criminal has justly expiated with his life a crime that was proved by purely circumstantial evidence.

All Lawrence’s conduct, from the first day of his administration till his death, forms a chain of evidence from which not one link is missing. Frequently in criminal trials, just after proofs that seem overwhelming, justice is thrown off the scent by some incident that jars with the whole tenor of the evidence. Here we meet with nothing of the sort; all facts have the same general tendency, they all converge to one end. Let me sum up these facts. First, remember what Governor Hopson wrote to the Lords of Trade in reference to the Acadians some months before his departure: “Mr. Cornwallis can inform Your Lordship how useful and necessary these people are to us; how impossible it is to do without them, or to replace them, even if we had other settlers to put in their places.^

His administration inspires so much confidence that the Acadians, without solicitation, meet, deliberate and are on the point of deciding to take the unrestricted oath, when, at the last moment, an objection expressing fear of molestation by the Indians stops further proceedings ; moreover, those who have quitted the Province present a petition to the Governor asking to be permitted to return. Hopson is allowed a year’s leave of absence for his health: he is replaced temporarily by Lawrence. So long as the latter’s position as administrator and president of the council is precarious, no change is apparent; he himself opens negotiations with the Acadian refugees in French territory to invite them to return to the province. He writes to the Lords of Trade that the Acadians are “pretty quiet as to Government matters.” Eight months later, speaking of the Acadian refugee*, he feels certain that, in case of war, despite all the efforts of the French, they would not consent to bear arms against the English. Events proved that this forecast was right; but Lawrence had not then conceived his sinister project; he spoke and acted with a certain candor, if such a term cau be applied to a creature like him. Hopson does not return ; Lawrence succeeds him. He then conceives the project of deporting the Acadians; his whole behavior undergoes a change. He has mapped out a line of conduct which he resolutely follows. It consists, on the one hand, in representing the Acadians in a more and more unfavorable light, in molesting and persecuting them to drive them to acts of insubordination and thus provide himself with plausible pretexts; on the other, in gradually preparing the Lords of Trade to accept his project, or rather to put up with the deed when done: for he knows full well that, except under extraordinary circumstances, he will never obtain their acquiescence. He first timidly approaches the subject: *As they possess the best and largest tracts of land in the Province, it cannot be settled with any effect while they remain, and tho' I would be very far from attempting such a step without Your Lordship’s approbation, yet I cannot help being of opinion that it would be much better, if they refuse the oath, that they were away.”

Beyond a doubt, he already has the deportation in his mind’s eye. Lawrence is not unaware that a voluntary departure would rejoice France and be very prejudicial to English interests. However, as a preparation for grave events, this declaration has its value. The ways and means are perhaps not yet clearly delined, obstacles are many .and some very serious; but the project itself is fully decided on. His perfidious proposal to the Lords of Trade meets with no responsive echo ; this he perhaps expected. The object he had in view—to prepare them by little and little--was attained; this was one step. An obstacle of a most formidable nature is the occupation of the isthmus and of the north shore of the Bay of Fundy by the French. As long as Fort Beausejnuv remains in French hands, the deportation scheme has but very little prospect of success. What is he to do ? To dislodge them, and in time of peace, is no easy matter. The traitor Pichon transmits to Captain Hussey at Fort Lawrence a letter purporting to come from General Duquesne, in which the latter advises the French Commandant at Beausejour to find a pretext for attacking the English. Hussey, transmitting the letter to Lawrence, tells him that he has strong evidence that the Duquesne letter, so-called, is “of Pichon's own composing,” and gives the reasons for his belief. This is exactly the opportunity sought for by Lawrence. He at once writes to Governor Shirley that “he is well informed of French designs to encroach upon His Majesty’s rights in the Province,” and to thwart them he wants 2,000 Massachusetts soldiers early in the spring. This is done; the French are taken unaware, Beausejour capitulates, and the whole north shore of the Bav of Fundy is rid of the French.

Three hundred Acadians are found armed in the Fort. Lawrence indites a letter, in which, beneath ambiguous and well-calculated forms, he both reveals and hides to the Lords of Trade a part of his design, which was already arranged in all its details with the assistance of Morris. Then he hurries 011 the execution thereof. Time presses; all must be done and over before the reply of the Lords of Trade. Deeds of oppression follow one another with feverish haste. As he does not succeed in provoking disobedience, he requires the oath from the Acadian delegates without allowing them to consult with their constituents. They hesitate, then offer to take it; he will not accept it now. He imprisons them to prevent all intercourse with their countrymen and to lead the latter to believe that they have persisted in refusing the oath. He carefully provides against their making off with the live stock or resisting by force of arms. He lays hold on their archives, their boats, their priests, their principal advisers. He gets his councillors, as well as Hoscawen, to endorse his project. To make its success more certain, he gives instructions to disperse his victims in places far distant from each other; he burns everything to prevent them from coming back ; he dismembers families to destroy all hope of return, and to keep them engrossed with the more pressing question of finding their relatives. To make assurance doubly sure, he instructs the governors of other provinces to keep them constantly under watch. Thus the game is played; the crime is consummated. The plan was infernal in its conception, infernal in its execution; its author stopped at nothing to ensure its full success, he was a man that never said nor did a humane thing.

Lawrence never expressed any solicitude except for the preservation of the live stock. We have seen what measures he adopted to make the country uninhabitable, so that fugitives could not find whereon to live. Here the question naturally presents itself : What did he do with the 120,000 head of cattle that remained at his disposal ? Can he have left them without keepers, without protection, without making use of them in some way, when the fugitive Acadians would thus be enabled to live on the fat of the land, and after he had taken such pains to make it impossible for those very fugitives to live in that very land? In the case of a man of Lawrence’s acuteness and astuteness the inference is evident. Hut, before coming to the principal heads of evidence, let us seize, by the way, on a new link in the circumstantial chain.

There was at Halifax a certain Moses de Les Derniers, whose trade was that of a peddler through the Acadian parishes. His knowledge of all that concerned the Acadians made him a precious tool for Lawrence. In the last days just before the proscription, the Governor charged him to go through the country choosing the finest horses he could find, and to send them to him without, of course, paying for them, as they were already practically sequestrated. For some time past no one had been allowed to move about from parish to parish without a pass. Moses de Les Derniers received the following:

“Permit the bearer, Moses de Les Derniers, to go to Grand Pre, River Tanard and Habitants, to look for some horses for the use of the Lieutenant-Governor and bring the same to the Fort.

“Fort Edward, 3rd Sept. 1755.

“Tlie number of horses mentioned above are six.

“A Murray.”'

His second permit, allowing liim to take and pass six more horses, is dated September 4th, and signed by Winslow.

“It commonly happens,” says Rameau, “that petty tyrants are the more servile toward great ones in proportion as they are more ferocious toward their own victims. Murray, therefore, played the sycophant to His Excellency of Halifax, offering his services to his respectable agent; and, as Winslow was, not unnaturally, interested in this business, Murray gave him an account of his researches. Thus, at this critical moment, when the existence of a whole people was at stake, the horses of a cross-road hero engrossed the attention of the entire staff.”

On September 3rd, Murray wrote to Winslow:

“I had not found until non- anything- which to my mind could please His Excellency ; but I am informed to-day that there is a black horse belonging to a man of the name of Armand Gros of Grand Pre, which, they tell me, will be a saddle-horse that will suit his taste. I therefore desire that you will have the kindness to command Bene Le Blanc, Jr., or some other Acadian, to take possession of it and bring it to me.”

The expression “until now” shows that Murray and Winslow had long since received their orders about these twelve horses. They were waiting for the arrest of the Acadians before carrying out these orders; and, as these passes and letters bore date September 3d and 4th, whereas the arrest took place on the 5tli, it is clear that all these details were calculated to the day and hour. Meanwhile, all the staff w-as astir to find out where they could procure what would suit His Excellency.

This strange haste to take possession of the finest horses and to get up a splendid stable without cost naturally arouses suspicion. Of itself it might escape one’s notice; but, when taken in connection with the instructions Monckton received to watch carefully over the preservation of the cattle and to prevent the Acadians from running away with them, instructions repeated so many times that their repetition appears otherwise idle and ridiculous, one cannot but harbor suspicions which need but fresh signs of guilt to become a certainty.

These fresh signs exist, if, indeed, a direct and formal accusation may be called merely a fresh indication of guilt, when that accusation against Lawrence is signed by the citizens of Halifax three years after the deportation in a petition addressed to some distinguished person in England. This petition was confided to Dr. Brown by those who had signed it. Brown has affixed to it this title: “Lawrence's character,” and the purchaser of 11 is MS. adds this remark: “A long letter (sixteen closely written pages) addressed to some one m England by the colonists concerning the state of the Province. This is a high-toned and most vigorous letter and lays bare with most withering scorn the character of Governor Lawrence.” It was written in 1757, or 1758, two or three years after the deportation.

The .contents of this long memorial, which we insert elsewhere, show that it was not the only document of its kind. It accuses Lawrence of exercising on the population of Halifax and of the whole province so intolerable a despotism that many persons have left the colony; that many others also would leave, were they not hindered by orders given to the owners of ships'; that no one can go beyond the town limits without a pass; that Halifax is nothing less than a prison; that Lawrence has persuaded Lord Loudon to urge in England the necessity of putting the Province under military rule and to withdraw from the other colonies their charters, the effect of which, they say, must be to bring on a struggle for liberty and consequences too fatal to be named.

“We had not touched upon these matters,” says the petition, “but, as we think Providence more immediately seems to concern itself in discovering the villainous arts of the authors of our calamities, and hope will direct in pouring vengeance on the man whose sole aim seems to havp been to blast the good intentions of his country, and to make all subordinates to him miserable. . . .

“It is with pleasure we hear the accounts of Nova Scotia will be strictly enquired into, as tee are very sure, if they were sifted to the bottom, it will be found that not less than ten thousand pounds worth of rum, molasses—(of which there was not less than 30,000 gallons, which alone was worth £3,000) beef, pork, etc., etc., provisions, and much merchandise for the supply of the Indians and French inhabitants, were taken in Beausejour, neither distributed as a reward to the captors, nor accounted for, except some small quantity of beef, sold to the commissary M. Saul, on Si. Baker's supply, which was extremely bad and decayed, and certified by Governor Lawrence, as provisions sent by Governor Shirley.

“That the cattle of the Acadians were converted to private me, of which vt£ know, 3,600 hoys and near 1,000 head of cattle was killed and packed at Pigiguit alone; sent by water to other places. And ichat at other forts is yet a secret, all unaccounted for to the amount of a very large sum; and he and his commissary are now tinder great perplexity to cover this iniquitmis fraud, etc., etc.

“But we hope before this time, many complaints have reached the ear of the minister, and that it will shortly evidently appear that, whilst' Governor Lawrence has the least influence in American affairs, so long will ruin and confusion attend them, and this truth General Shirley at Home, and Lord Charles Hay when he goes home, will, as we are informed, make evident to demonstration; for, it is generally believed, that Lord Charles Hay’s infinement was solely due to Governor Lawrence's insinuations to Lord Loudon, on his—Lord Hay—examining too freely into the expenses of batteries, etc., etc., and speaking too contemptibly of what had been done for the mighty sums expended in Nova Scotia.”

These extracts form but a small part of the petition, anti what I omit is scarcely less important. No one, on reading the above, can escape the conviction that his oppression of the people was unbearable. And, since this was the case for English colonists, one can the better understand what I have said of Lawrence’s tyranny in respect of the Acadians. This petition reveals, with great precision, his transactions, his methods of operation, his accomplices and even his anxiety to cover his frauds. The deportation had acted as a screen, allowing him to extend his operations and disguise them more effectually. Without it, he would have found it difficult to turn to his profit the immense booty that the taking of Beausejour had exposed to his “itching palm.” With the deportation, he could seem to devote the spoils to the feeding of the Acadian captives, while in reality he had fed them partly with their own provisions. The turmoil and disorder produced by the deportation enabled him, without exposing his jobs to the indiscreet notice of his subordinates, to utilize, as we shall see later, the transports which deported the Acadians for the sale in other colonies of their cattle and of the rich Beausejour booty. We gather likewise from this petition that he imprisoned Lord Charles Hay under false pretences, whereas the real motive of his imprisonment was the having revealed or spoken too freely of frauds committed in the erection of batteries.

As regards more particularly the Acadians, we have the positive fact that, from one place only, he sent off 3,600 pigs and nearly 1,000 head of cattle. We have in this petition, two several times, the categorical assertion that no account was rendered, first, of the Beausjour booty, and secondly, of the Acadians’ live stock except—and the exception adds great weight to the assertion—of a small quantity of beef, and, what is more, this was certified by Lawrence as coming from Governor Shirley.

Brown had been able to converse about the facts alleged in this petition with the very men who signed it, when Lawrence had been long dead and when, consequently, they had no object in deceiving him. In many other ways also could he verify these assertions; so that, when he intitled them “Lawrence’s character,” he showed that he accepted their substantial correctness. However, he has expressed himself still more clearly in the following lines:

“MS. relating to Lawrence's abuses.

“How wicked must these meu be, who thus deceived their country . . . such persons, no doubt, would have been glad to see this important colony annexed to the Crown of Prance, that they might never be called to account for their abuse of the trust reposed in them and their misapplication of the Nation’s money.”

The inhabitants of Halifax were so exasperated at Lawrence’s oppression that they deputed one of their number, Ferdinand John Paris, to London to state their grievances. Besides the above petition, they sent him two more, one bearing date March 15th, 1757, and the other April 2d. Brown’s MS. contains a fourth from Paris himself to the Lords of Trade, dated February 4th, 1758, from which 1 take these short extracts:

“That the partial, arbitrary anti illegal behaviour of the present governor, of which they have continually instances. . .

“That the many thousands of the Government’s and people’s money uselessly lavished on dependents and favorites, by reduplicated salaries, and other ingenious contrivances, is another grievous injury.

“The value of the cattle, hogs, taken from the Acadians, as well as the rum, molanses, etc., etc., taken from the French, was very considerable, £20,000 at least. How it has been accounted for should be enquired.”

The Archives set forth one only trace of a legitimate use of all this live stock, viz.: when Lawrence allowed some inhabitants of Lunenburg to go and get a few head of cattle, the number thereof being estimated as between sixty and a hundred. In one of bis letters to the Lords of Trade, Lawrence, very probably with a view to preparing an excuse for himself, said that he would give this live stock to those of the English colonists who could winter them, as if the remainder could not be saved from destruction, when, as the above petition shows, he had managed successfully the more difficult point of saving even the pigs. In fact he gave away just enough to serve in his own defence, if necessary. Those were, surely, words of foresight.

The first of the petitions I have quoted mentions Lawrence’s efforts to persuade Lord Loudun, Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in America, to use his influence to the end that the colony be put under military rule. Smarting under the slight control exercised over him by a council of his own creation, and one that was apparently servile enough, Lawrence wanted to get rid of it in order to reign alone. Those who have closely studied the history of the Province are acquainted with the many ruses set going by Lawrence to avoid the establishment of a representative assembly. The colonists were clamoring for it; the Lords of Trade imperatively demanded it. He who had dreamt of getting rid of his weak council, was far from relishing an elective assembly, to which he would be subject, and which might perhaps take it into its head to inquire about his transactions. He always had some new shift at hand to elude what the Lords of Trade more and more sternly ordered him to do:

“Having so often and ho fully repeated to you our sense and opinion of the propriety and necessity of this measure taking place, it only remains for us to direct its being carried into immediate execution.” The patience of the authorities had reached its utmost limits; another subterfuge would be his ruin; Lawrence was wise in time and yielded.

To have hoped to free himself from the control of a council composed of his creatures, whom he had cowed into silence while he publicly branded them as a pack of scoundrels, and then to fall under the control of an Assembly representing that public opinion which he had trampled under foot, under the control of those merchants whom he had called “a parcel of villains and bankrupts,” was, it must be confessed, a terrible disappointment. He had hitherto needed the help of none but the great, none but men who enjoyed some influence at Court. The low cunning and consummate flattery which he had successfully used with those who could be of some use to him, was no longer sufficient. The people, who had been nothing, were now become great in their turn. Thus he had reason to dread lest this Assembly should expose Ins iniquities. Deep, sharp, resourceful as he was, the task was enormous; he must propitiate and appease those whom he had crushed with scorn; instead of the absolute power he had dreamt of, he could keep but a shred thereof, and even that he must light for inch by inch, and, by so doing, expose himself to new dangers.

Ilis letter to the Lords of Trade, after the election of the representatives of the people, expresses his fears: "I hope," he says, “I shall not find in them a disposition to embarrass or obstruct His Majesty’s service, or to dispute the royal prerogative, though observe, that too many of the members chosen are such as have not been the most remarkable for promoting unity or obedience to His Majesty’s Government here. I hope I may be able to dispatch such business as may be necessary for the present without too much loss of time in rejoining the army.”

This is the expedient on which his fertile mind had hit to ward off danger: he was to pretend that the urgent need of his services in the army made it imperative for the Assembly to have a session only as a matter of form, merely to vote supplies and to legalize, as it were, in the lump, those acts of his council which stood in need of that formality. To the representatives of the people, in his opening address, he said :

“As l am now necessarily employed, and will be for some time to come, upon an enterprise of importance in a distant part of the Province, there is not at present an opportunity of entering upon such particulars as might otherwise call for your attention, I am therefore earnestly to recommend the expediency or rather necessity of unanimity and dispatch in the confirmation of such acts of a Legislative nature as the Governor and Council have found expedient before the forming of an Assembly.”

Anxiety is manifest in each line; he is earnestly begging them to do nothing, or to get quickly through the most urgent business, and then pack their trunks until next year. The Assembly was timid and inexperienced; members had no time to come together and consult with each other; the most expert were Lawrence’s creatures, the members of his old Council; everybody was in great glee over the new departure in the way of popular representation; votes were rapidly recorded ; everybody went home; the danger was past. Lawrence was delighted. Reporting to the Lords of Trade the result of the session, he said: “I have reason to hope that we shall get through with less altercation than from the seeming disposition of the people liras "'apprehensive of.”

The war between France and England had become highly interesting. Success had followed the first reverses. Louisburg, Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island had been conquered; Quebec had just capitulated ; joy was in the hearts of all, public rejoicings followed one another with a sort of glad delirium; feelings of hatred disappeared in the enthusiasm of a common delight; enemies became friends ; Lawrence was daily showing more suavity and sweeter smiles; the danger was going to be averted a second time. At this exceptionally favorable moment it became an easy matter for Lawrence to put off the crisis he seemed so greatly to dread. The second session passed like the first. “There is, said Lawrence to the Assembly,“ but very little requiring your attention, when your private avocations but ill admit of your attendance. The most material point that seems to call your attention, under the present circumstances of the Province is a provision for maintaining a light-house at Sambro and managing the affairs of the work-house.”

Were Lawrence’s arts to prevail? Was he going, by his cajolery and trickery, to consign to oblivion the humiliations he had inflicted upon the whole population? Would circumstances continue to favor him long enough to allow of his definitively escaping retribution for his crimes ? It was not likely. However, the “ low cunning and consummate flattery ” that had served him in such good stead with the great, he was now bringing to bear, with as much persistence and with growing success, upon the representatives of the people. But there is another contingency which great criminals do not always keep in inind, the hour of which is unknown, though its advent is certain ; it often breaks in unheralded when all the tokens of joy are at hand, and when human justice seems belated. Seized with inflammation of the lungs at a ball he was giving on the occasion, I think, of the capitulation of Montreal, he died eight days later, on the 19th of October, 1760, in the prime of life and at the zenith of his glory, some weeks before his accomplice Boscawen. .

As we shall presently see, Lawrence died just in time to save his honor from investigation. He was on the point of being hurled from the Tarpeian rock, when he died on the Capitol. His friends wanted to hush up the affair to avoid a scandal, just as happens even in our day in spite of our democratic institutions, in spite of our boasted Press and civilization. De mortuis nil nisi bonum. This the Legislature understood. To thank him for having, by his death, relieved them of a burden, to conform to the venerable and solemn custom of erecting monuments and inditing flattering inscriptions to those who die in some high post of honor, the Assembly voted a monument to his memory, with this inscription: “From a grateful sense of his many services, his indefatigable endeavors for the public- good, and a wise, upright and disinterested administration.”

One discerns the hand of an accomplice in the wording of this inscription. Death was to ward off the blow that threatened more than one culprit; but, the better to ensure immunity, it was advisable to obtain the assent of the Legislature. Men being, under such circumstances, prone to indulgence and mercy, the vote was carried.

It was high time. Three months later, the Lords of Trade, naming Judge Belcher to succeed Lawrence, wrote to him as follows:—

“It has been represented to us, that Governor Lawrence had encouraged and protected the disorderly part of the military under his Government, in several outrages on the property, persons, and even the lives of the inhabitants; sometimes by assuming illegal powers, and at others, by abusing those which were lawfully vested in him for better purposes; by frequently interrupting the free course of justice, in discharging while under prosecution, and in enlarging after conviction, soldiers and officers guilty of destroying fences, violent assaults, and many other far greater enormities.

“Several very heavy charges have likewise been made against Governor Lawrence with respect to contracts which were entered into, both on account of the provisions distributed to the weak settlements of the colony, and the vessels w hicli have so long been kept upon the establishment for the service of the Province.

(Signed) “Dunk. Halifax,

“W. S. Hamilton, “W. Sloper.”

I was not far wrong in saying that Lawrence escaped the Tarpeian rock only by an opportune death. The meaning of this document is clear to the dullest comprehension. The Lords of Trade were convinced of his guilt; there remained but the- usual legal formalities to be gone through; they had weighed all the information they had been able to collect, and, notwithstanding the manifold cares of war, they felt the time had come for action; the blow was about to fall on Lawrence and plunge him into disgrace, or perhaps inflict upon him some exemplary punishment. It is worthy of remark that this despatch contains many accusations that are not to be found in the petitions cited above; which proves that the Lords of Trade had received information from many other quarters. and many other far greater enormities” implies, not only that the crimes they distinctly recited were enormous, but that those not mentioned were far more numerous and atrocious. The measure of his iniquities was full; it would soon have overflowed. Without counting his crimes, Lawrence alone had broken more laws than all the Acadians put together, during the forty-five years of English domination.

It will be remembered that, when Lawrence informed the Lords of Trade of the deportation, he especially insisted on the economy he had practised therein. He pointed out that he had chartered the transports at the very places to which the Acadians were shipped. Now, a list I have before me shows what he charged the Government for fifteen out of seventeen vessels : seven vessels are reported as taking four months to complete the voyage, and are charged so much a day for four months; three other vessels are charged so much a day for five months; two, so much a day for six months; two more, for seven months; one for eight months. These, with the deportation itself and Lawrence’s use of the Acadian cattle, are probably some of the “several very heavy charges” and some of the “many far greater enormities” to which the Lords of Trade allude. The extreme limit of the voyages these vessels made was two or three months at most. I think I am warranted in believing that Lawrence had entered into collusion with the company that furnished these vessels —Apthorp and Hancock—who had kept them at his personal service for transporting the live stock taken from the Acadians and the Beausejour booty. Since the Lords of Trade made this a count in their indictment, they must have had proof that Lawrence had retained these vessels for a service other than that of the Government; else their ranking this among the “heavy charges” would be meaningless.

This letter of tjie Lords of Trade to Belcher was essentially a public document and ought therefore to be found in the archives. It is not there. It was still there, apparently, in 1787, when Brown was writing. It was no longer there in 1820, when Haliburton was preparing his History; in fact, at this latter date, there remained not a single public document of the deportation period. Listen to Haliburton:

“It is very remarkable that there are no traces of this important event (the deportation of the Acadians) to be found among the records in the Secretary's office at Halifax. I could not discover that the correspondence had been preserved, or that the Orders, Returns and Memorials had even been fyled there. In the letter book of Governor Lawrence, which is still extant, no communication to the Lords of Trade is entered from the 5th of December to the 8tht of August 1756, if we except a common victualling return. The particulars of this affair seem to have been carefully concealed, although it is not now easy to assign the reason, unless the parties were, as in truth they well might be, ashamed of the transaction.”

Haliburton was, as I have had occasion to observe at the beginning of this work, a judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, the celebrated author of Sam Slick, one of the grandest and noblest characters on the historic stage of this Province, which, small as it is, has produced so many remarkable men. Nine years before, ho had, in the local House, says Ramcau, given vent to liis indignation in this way: “The archives of Halifax remind one of a mystery which people try to hide; and, from the little we know of them, there is reason to believe that important papers of different epochs have wholly or partially disappeared.’’'

This opinion was disputed at the time ; but, when he published his History, nine years later, Haliburton reiterated his accusation in the same way, Nobody knows with certainty whether these documents were destroyed or merely hidden away; but a host of indications point to the conclusion that they disappeared gradually between 1756 and 1800, and that they were abstracted by the principal accomplices in the deportation and by their children. Haye we not seen that Brown secured Judge Morris’s famous report in the Archives and got it copied by the judge’s son? Has it not disappeared from the Archives since? Were it not for the finding of Brown’s MS., that document would have been lost forever. Have we not seen another document which Bulkeley, after his retirement from the service, showed Brown? Why was it in Bulkeley’s hands and not in the Archives? Does not Haliburton tell us that Lawrence’s Letter-book was still extant when he wrote, but that all the letters from 1754 to 1756, with one trifling exception, had disappeared ? Note, moreover, that since the letter-book itself was still extant, the missing letters must have been detached and taken away. Is not this a tangible proof of abstraction for some cause which Haliburton rightly attributed to shame? And this letter of the Lords of Trade to Belcher immediately has no right to pretend that he did not know, for he himself shows in several places that he has studied the official documents of the Public Record Office. in order to collate them with those of Halifax. In my turn I have collated the Halifax compilation with the originals in the Public Record Office in London, and I ascertained that there are considerable omissions of matters so essential as to change the whole complexion of affairs.”

Philip H. Smith says on the same subject: “The deportation was conducted in so heartless a manner that, as though by common consent, the reports of details have been purposely destroyed, and historians have passed over it with only an allusion, as if unable to record the shame of the transaction.” after Lawrence’s death, so important, so fatal to the theory of those who, like Parkman, strive to whitewash Lawrence and his accomplices, where was it? It was in the Archives in 1787; it was no longer there in 1820; it was not there in 1859 when Rameau wrote; nor was it there in 1865 when Murdoch composed his History, for I have too much trust in his honor to suppose him capable of ignoring it if it had been in the Archives. And was not the Compiler obliged to apply to the Colonial Records in London to fill some of the Halifax gaps? And why, after thus consulting the Colonial Records, has he not given a small corner of his volume to this important letter of the Lords of Trade to Belcher, dated March 8d, 1761? Will he pretend that, by a strange coincidence, its disappearance at Halifax was repeated in London? If so, then there must have been a regular plot with distant ramifications; and such a supposition is ridiculous. That document had, indeed, disappeared from the Halifax Archives; but it was really in the Colonial Records. He might have secured it with the other documents he got there; but he did not dare to produce it, not because it was unimportant but because it was too important.

To these numerous accusations distinctly formulated against Lawrence, coming from the most respectable sources and covering all the branches of the public service, I will add another from Dr. Brown, which discloses what the citizens of Halifax thought of the deportation at the very time it was being carried out. In a letter which it would be very interesting to know, Lawrence had communicated to his accomplice Boscawen the anxiety he felt at the way the citizens of Halifax blamed his conduct towards the Acadians.

Brown adds the following remarks to Bosuawen’s answer dated Sept. 25th, 1758:

“This letter appears to be in the handwriting of the intrepid Admiral. The complaints of the people of Halifax, and reflections of many with respect to the Acadian removal, were the subject of disquietude with Governor Lawrence. lie communicated them to Boscawen, but ‘Heart of Oak' despised them. His feelings do not seem to have been very exquisite, when tlie sufferings of an enemy were investigated. His hatred of the French was too much of the old English make, a personal antipathy, an instinctive aversion.”

This removes all doubt as to the opinion the people of Halifax entertained about the deportation. These animadversions must have been pretty general, and must have been manifested pretty openly before they could disquiet a man like Lawrence, who cared so little for the opinions and feelings of his subjects, so long as it was absolute master; and it must therefore be admitted that, in the eyes of those who witnessed the “Acadian removal,” that act was deemed an iniquity. For any one that takes the trouble to ponder over the full significance of this testimony, its value as corroborative evidence cannot but be recognized. Lawrence, with his well-known skill, with his retinue of sycophants interested in humoring him, could easily mould public opinion. Events seemed to favor his purpose; the war, now carried on with spirit, kept alive those national animosities that had long been so intense; the people, so utterly dependent on a military ruler, might hope to profit, directly or indirectly, by the spoils of the Acadians, especially by their lands. And yet all these motives, I am happy to say, could not prevail against the strong feelings and the natural rectitude of the people. After Honor has been driven from high station by the ever dangerous impulse of self-interest, it 'will yet be found among the people. Brown was but the echo of the popular sentiment in his time when he denounced the deportation in scathing terms.

This same Dr. Brown relates at some length an anecdote in which he himself figured, and which points clearly to the persistence of this same frame of mind in Halifax when he was writing. I briefly sum up his account: “Each time a public discussion was raised on the question of the deportation, there was great excitement in the camp of the old servants of Lawrence's Government. When Raynal published his work, what related to the Acadians was printed in full in one of the Halifax newspapers. Bulkeley and Judge Des-champs took alarm ; the publication of this article they looked upon as a personal insult. Together they drew up a reply, which they published with great ostentation. It was handed to me by Judge Deschamps, who thought it an unanswerable defence.

“Later, in 1789, Messrs. Cochran and Howe founded their Magazine." Not knowing the sensitiveness of the other gentlemen with regard to the deportation, they reproduced the offending passage from Raynal. Messrs. Bulkeley and Deschamps were quite as much offended at it as they had been the first time. They again determined to reply. As 1 had preserved the copy of the newspaper which contained their former reply, I was awakened very early in the morning by Judge Deschamps himself, who earnestly begged of me to hand him that newspaper and the other documents he had entrusted to me.

“Mr. Cochran, whose situation did not. allow of his making enemies of such influential men, resigned himself to publish Judge Deschamps’ reply, adding, without entering into the merits of the question, some remarks that cast doubt upon the veracity of Raynal.”

At the close of this anecdote Brown observes: “Although I can take upon me, from a painful examination of the whole matter, that Raynal neither knew, nor suspected the tenth part of the distresses of the Acadians, and that, excepting the massacre of St. Bartholemew. 1 know of no act equally reprehensible as the Acadian removal.”

Such an expression of opinion supposes in a man of Brown's character very deep convictions. The avowal was evidently distressing: from a painful examination of the whole matter. He hints clearly enough elsewhere his conviction that the secret motive of the deportation was none other than a speculation of Lawrence's in the live stock of the Acadians. With those who seek to form a correct and impartial judgment, the opinions of this good, high-minded and sympathetic man, of this contemporary chronicler, have far more weight than those of a mere collector of interesting anecdotes like Parkman. Brown wrote soon after the deportation, when it was fully consummated, when peace and quiet reigned over America. This was a more favorable time than would have been the very moment of the deportation. Contemporary official documents are, of course, valuable; but they are often one-sided presentments by interested parties. But, as the story I have just given shows, Brown lived in familiar intercourse with the authors of the deportation; he knew all the points of their defence, which had been pleaded more than once by a judge; he had examined and weighed all the written and verbal evidence. His opinion has the force of a judicial sentence, the rather as the case was tried in the absence of the Acadians, as the decision is against the party present in court, against fellow-countrymen and perhaps against friends whom he might wish to save from historic infamy.

We have reason to believe that, even before the deportation, when Lawrence was persecuting the Acadians, seizing their arms, imprisoning their delegates, the people of Halifax murmured against this treatment. This seems to be implied in the following order, which no doubt alludes directly to the blame brought upon him in Halifax by this persecution. The order is dated July 4th, 1755, the very day after the imprisonment of the first Acadian delegates.

“Whereas busy, ill-disposed, caballing and malicious persons, have wickedly and with an intent of usurping power in this Province to themselves, invented and published false and scandalous reports reflecting on the authority and administration of Government. . . For the more effectual prevention of such mischiefs, it is resolved by the Lieut.-Grovemor and Council that, if any person or persons, shall after the publication of this act . . . presume to utter, publish and declare any insinuations or reports reflecting on the administration of the Government, the person or persons so offending shall ”...

After having been led astray by the evil influence which a despot always exercises over the people about him, many of the actors in this drama were apparently realizing, in Brown’s time, the odiousness of their cooperation. They had been misled by Lawrence’s diplomacy; they had not seen till all was done and over the motives that actuated him; in their good faith they had been deceived. In the calm of afterthought they had been able to rearrange the sequence of events and to discover the secret intrigues that had warped their judgment. It would be unfair to pass a sweeping condemnation on the intentions, of these men. We may and do reprobate the deed; but to extend our reprobation to the intentions of all subordinate actors were presumptuous ignorance and too sweeping to be just.

Brown gives us information of inestimable value to historians, for lie tells us what was the opinion of the contemporaries and witnesses of the events he describes. Nor is this the opinion of strangers who are indifferent or of adversaries who are hostile, but of the persons under Lawrence’s own jurisdiction. It appears evident that the citizens of Halifax were divided into two parties on this question of the deportation: on one side, Lawrence’s councillors and favorites, on whom “he had lavished the people’s money by reduplicated salaries and other ingenious contrivances” as one of the petitions cited above says; on the other, the remainder of the population, those who were groaning under Lawrence’s oppression. In other words, his conduct was approved or excused by those who were interested in this approval or excuse, and blamed by those who were disinterested.

Neither is it surprising that Judge Deschamps and Bulkeley, sometime secretary of the Council, took offence, as Brown says, at all that was said or published against the deportation. Had they not received in divers ways the price of their complicity ? Paikrnan and some other writers have not been eager to inform the public that the complicity of Lawrence’s favorites was liberally rewarded by numerous favors. We should have been interested in learning that each of the chief agents in the plot received 20,000 acres of the lands that belonged to the Acadians. I have not tried to ferret out all the details of these tempting gratuities; but what we are told by the two principal historians of these events may suffice. Haliburtoh, at page 100:'of the first volume of his History of Nova Scotia, says :

“The crops of wheat which the Acadians raised were so superabundant, that, for many years previous to their expulsion, they exported a great quantity to the Boston market. Although immediately occupied by the English, after the deportation of these unfortunate people, it underwent no material changes until the last twenty years (1810). The most valuable lands were granted to gentlemen residing at Halifax, among whom were many of His Majesty's Council. That portion of it which fell into the hands of resident proprietors, was divided among a few individuals. Thus was introduced a system of tenantry, which, in Nova Scotia, neither contributes to the improvement of the soil, nor the profit of the landlord.”

If Parkman, after fifty years of study, has not been lucky enough to come across this interesting passage of the distinguished historian, he ought at least, I think to have remarked what Murdoch says at page 528, vol. II. of his History. He produces a despatch from Governor Legge to the Secretary of State, Lord Dartmouth, which mentions incidentally those grants of land Haliburton speaks ol. We read that the Lords of Trade disapproved of them, and by a sort of compromise, reduced the amount from 20,000 to 5,000 acres. Some of the names of the grantees are given, among others those of Belcher, who succeeded Lawrence, and of Morris, afterward judge and the author of that remarkable memorial which I have analyzed and in which he concludes that the Acadians “were at all events to be roofed out.'’ We are not told if Lawrence had secured for himself a part of these grants ; his preference seems to have been for the live stock and other movables easily exchanged for hard cash; but there is not the least doubt of his taking the lion’s share. Ought not all these facts to have opened Parkman’s eyes to the motives of the deportation? And yet he seems, on the contrary, to have resolutely closed them to any reasonable solution of the problem, in order to mystify his readers by his shameful Pichon tricks (ses Pichoimeries).

I venture to think I have kept my promise that I would prove Lawrence’s interested motives. To require more direct evidence would be unreasonable. I cannot point to any commission of inquiry or to any sentence of a law court; but short of such legal formalities, nothing is wanting to his condemnation, which, as the Lords of Trade’s letter to Belcher shows, was already complete as far as the Home Government was concerned, and would have been soon followed by utter disgrace, had not the grim reaper stepped in and claimed his own. It is obvious that Lawrence, notwithstanding his astuteness, had run a fearful risk when he deported the Acadians without the orders and against the expressed intentions of the Home Government. Ilis methods, the studied concealment or the lialf-revealing of his purpose, the precautions with which he surrounded himself, tlie haste with which he pressed the execution of the job before receiving a reply to his ambiguous letters ; all these and many others are signs of the deliberation with which he had played a game that might at any moment entail the ruin of his future and the loss of his honor. He was too far-seeing not to have weighed and measured this risk. Then, why did he expose himself to this awful danger, unless he cherished a hope great enough to outweigh what was now trembling in the balance? And what other hope could he have than to make a fortune out of the spoils of his victims? Any other inference would seem absurd. Even if we had not the numerous proofs we now possess against Lawrence, we might still argue with rigorous logic in this way: Since it is absolutely certain that his councillors were rewarded for their complicity in the deportation, Lawrence, who alone ran the risk, must necessarily have rewarded himself either in lands or in live stock or in both at once. Since he was dishonest enough to let others enrich themselves by such methods, lie must have been dishonest enough to feather his own nest, unless he was a fool, which he certainly was not. The bandit chief who risks his liberty and life in the perpetration of his crimes never does so without appropriating a part of the booty. This argument, taken in connection with the mass of proofs

I have produced, with the many links I have welded together, completes the chain of evidence that must bind Lawrence for all time to the scourging post of history.

True, we cannot, without loathing, think that a man has been found inhuman enough to expatriate a whole people in order to enrich himself with their property. Unable to doubt liis speculations in the live stock and the lands of the Acadians, we should be inclined to doubt that the spoliation was premeditated, were such a doubt possible; but it is not. His crime is horrible, it exceeds our wildest imaginings; but, on the other hand, we know that in all ages and in all stations of life there have been men whose crimes were so incredible as to admit of no limit save that of their power to perpetrate them. Not premeditated! A man who never uttered a word of pity at the sight of the desolation he was causing, who gave instructions that the men should be seized and deported to certain countries, and that the women should be seized later and deported to other countries, with special recommendations to the Governors of those countries to keep them constantly under watch, that man was quite capable of premeditating his crime with a view to spoliation. Not premeditated! The man whose oppression of his own countrymen was unbearable, who speculated in all the branches of the public service, was quite capable—were he guilty of only half the charges made against him by the people under his rule and by the Lords of Trade—of plotting the deportation as a stepping-stone to wealth. Great criminals like him are omnivorous in their greed. Not premeditated ! A man who, like Lawrence, from being a poor apprentice to a house-painter, raises himself in a few years to the rank of Brigadier-General and to the dignity of governor of a province, leaves nothing to chance. At a period when promotion was almost closed to a plebeian, he must have had no ordinary talent for intriguing, his combinations must have been skilful and deliberate, his purpose well defined and all the steps thereto carefully prepared and strongly fortified. Not premeditated ! Unforeseen temptations have little place in the lives of plotters and schemers; they habitually anticipate them all; they are their own tempters. Now there were, at the very lowest estimate, a hundred thousand head of live stock; what to do with them was a question that arose of itself at the outset, a difficulty that stared one in the face like the sun at high noon, it was the first question an intelligent child would have asked; and are we to believe that Lawrence, the house-painter’s apprentice who bad risen by sheer brain-power to the governorship, was innocent enough not to have thought out the whole problem beforehand, when he had foreseen and regulated the smallest details of the deportation with diabolical precision? Nonsense! Everything must have been prepared and mapped out long before. Having in a few years leached a post of honor that would have, dazzled a merely lucky upstart, having got there by dint of practising all the arts that serve to elevate skilful intriguers, he felt the want of wealth. He hoped shortly to be promoted to a wider sphere. ‘With opulence he could land at a bound on the highest attainable elevation. The painter’s apprentice, who had been clever enough to find out how to become governor, would surely be able to understand still better what he must do to attain a yet higher position, and, being a despot, he would do it.

Haliburton was weighing his words well when he said the disappearance of the documents could be attributed only to shame. The same motive caused the confiscation of the Acadians’ archives one month before their arrest.

Another cause that may have contributed somewhat to raise in Lawrence’s mind the idea of the deportation, was the unprecedented and extraordinary submissiveness of the Acadians, which at any rate ensured to the execution of that crime a success that would otherwise be inexplicable.


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