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them the king's prisoners, and they were detained in the church for several days. “In consequence of their earnest entreaties, the prisoners were permitted, ten at once, to return to visit their wretched families, and to look for the last time upon their beautiful fields and their loved and lost homes.”
The close of the affecting narrative of Minot is as follows:–
“The whole number of persons collected at Grand Pre finally amounted to four hundred and eighty-three men, and three hundred and thirty-seven women, heads of families; and their sons and daughters to five hundred and twenty-seven of the former, and five hundred and seventy-six of the latter; making, in the whole, one thousand nine hundred and twenty-three souls. Their stock was upwards of five thousand horned cattle, four hundred and ninety-three horses, and twelve thousand eight hundred and eighty-seven sheep and swine.
“As some of these wretched inhabitants escaped to the woods, all possible measures were adopted to force them back to captivity. The country was laid waste, to prevent their subsistence. In the district of Minas, where numbers had fled, they were quickly dispersed, according to the original plan, among the several British colonies. One thousand arrived in Massachusetts Bay, and became a public expense, owing in a great degree to an unchangeable antipathy to their situation, which prompted them to reject the usual beneficiary, but humiliating, establishment of paupers or their children.”
Another writer describes the moment o. embarkation in the following terms:—
“The preparations having been all completed, the 10th September was fixed upon as the day of departure. The prisoners were drawn up six deep, and the young men, one hundred and sixty-one in number, were ordered to go first on board of the vessels. This they instantly and peremptorily refused to do, declaring that they would not leave their parents; but expressed a willingness to comply with the order, provided they were permitted to embark with their families. Their request was immediately rejected, and the troops were ordered to fix bayonets and advance towards the prisoners; a motion which had the effect of producing obedience on the part of the young men, who forthwith commenced their march. The road from the chapel to the shore, just one mile in length, was crowded with women and children, who, on their knces, greeted them as they passed with their tears and their blessings; while the prisoners advanced with slow and reluctant steps, weeping, praying, and singing hymns. This detachment was followed by the seniors, who passed through the same scene of sorrow and distress. In this manner was the whole male population of the district of Minas put on board or five transports, stationed in the river Gaspereau, each vessel being guarded by six non-commissioned officers and eighty privates. As soon as the other vessels arrived, their wives and children followed, and the whole were transported from Nova Scotia.”
In speaking of the distresses which these ill-fated people endured, Hutchinson says:—“In several instances, the husbands who happene’ to be at a distance rom home were put on board vessels bound to one o the English colonies, and their wives and children on board other vessels, bound to other colonies, remote .rom the first. Onc of the most sensible o, them, describing his case, said, ‘It was the hardest which had happened since our Saviour was upon carth.”
Another writer, Mr. Sabine, says:– “In another section of the colony, two hundred and fifty-three houses were set on fire at one time, and their owners beheld the awful calamity from the neighbouring woods in unspeakable agony; when, at length, an attempt was made to burn the church, they suddenly emerged from the forest, slew and maimed about thirty of their enemies, and quickly returned to “God’s first temples.”
Whatever may have been the crimes of some of the Acadians, it is undeniable that, as a people, they were treated with unnecessary cruelty. And though the circumstances are well-nigh obliterated rom the pages of authentic history, they have an imperishable record in the pages of “Evangeline.”
We may merely mention that some of the characters in the piece are not altogether imaginary personages. The Rene Leblanc, for instance, was a notary-public, as the poet represents, and had Îormerly suffered for his allegiance to the English crown. The Indians had carried him into captivity on that account, and detained him a prisoner four years. At the time on the events described, he was a vigorous old man, with twenty children, and one hundred and fifty grandchildren. Despite of a promise made to him by Winslow, he was sent to New York, with his wile and his two youngest children only, the others having been dispersed elsewhere. With this small band he set out in search of others of his family, and succeeded in joining three ot them in Philadelphia. But here he was exhausted. The wrongs and sufferings which he and his compatriots had endured bowed his spirit to the dust, and he died broken-heart.cd and in despair.
THIS is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
sano Druids of eld, with voices sad and pro
staff like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
Loud from its rocky caverns the deep-voiced neighbouring ocean
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.
This is the forest primeval; but where are the hearts that beneath it Leaped like the roe, when he hears in the woodland the voice of the huntsman? Where is the thatch-roofed village, the home of Acadian farmers— Men whose lives glided on like rivers that water the woodlands, Darkened by shadows of earth, but reflecting an image of heaven?
Waste are those pleasant farms, and the farmers for ever departed!
Scattered like dust and leaves, when the mighty blasts of October
Seize them, and whirl them aloft, and sprinkle them far o'er the ocean.
Naught but tradition remains of the beautiful village of Grand Pré.
s Ye who believe in affection that hopes, and endures, and is patient,
Ye who believe in the beauty and strength of woman's devotion,
List to the mournful tradition still sung by the pines of the forest;
List to a Tale of Love in Acadie, home of the happy.
• In the Acadian land, on the shores of the Basin of Minas
a Distant, secluded, still, the little village of Grand P
r Lay in the fruitful valley. Wast meadows stretched to the eastward, Giving the village its name, and pasture to flocks without number. Dikes, that the hands of the farmers had raised with labour incessant, Shut out the turbulent tides; but at stated seasons the flood-gates Opened, and welcomed the sea to wander at will o'er the meadows. West and south there were fields of flax, and orchards and corn-fields, Spreading afar and unfenced o'er the plain; and away to the northward Blomidon rose, and the forests old, and aloft on the mountains
Sea-fogs pitched their tents, and mists from the mighty Atlantic Looked on the happy valley, but ne'er from their station ...}. There, in the midst of its farms, reposed the Acadian village. Strongly built were the houses, with frames of oak and of chestnut, Such as the peasants of Normandy built in the reign of the Henries. Thatched were the roofs, with dormer windows; and gables projecting Over the basement below protected and shaded the doorway. There in the tranquil evenings of summer, when brightly the sunset Lighted the village street, and gilded the vanes on the chimneys, Matrons and maidens sat in snow-white caps, and in kirtles Scarlet and blue and green, with distaffs spinning the golden Flax for the gossiping looms, whose noisy shuttles within doors Mingled their sound with the whir of the wheels - and the songs of the maidens. YSolemnly down the street came the parish priest, - and the children Paused in their play to kiss the hand he extended to bless them. Reverend walked he among them; and up rose matrons and maidens, Hailing his slow approach with words of affectionate welcome. s Then came the labourers home from the field, and serenely the sun sank Down to his rest, and twilight prevailed. Anon from the belfry - Softly the Angelus sounded, and over the roofs of the village