Preserving Acadian Culture, Language, and History in the St. John Valley

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History of Acadie III


The surviving members of the expedition to Ste Croix Island in 1604 crossed the Baye Française (Bay of Fundy) in 1605 and founded Port Royal (today Annapolis Royal). Along with Samuel de Champlain, there was Marc Lescarbot, who was trained as an attorney, but who became the first historian of North America with the publication of “Stories of New France” (1609), its first playwright “The Theater of Neptune” (1606) and its first poet “Muses of New France” (1606): 

Prepare for France a flourishing Empire
In this New World, where ages will inspire
The immortal fame of de Monts and of thee,
Under the puissant reign of great Henri.

Lescarbot wrote about L’Ordre de Bon Temps (The Order of Good Cheer) instituted by Champlain. “For the next three months the leading men of the outpost – Hébert, Pontgravé, Champlain, and Poutrincourt, took their turn as maître d’hotel, assuming responsibility for providing game and fish for the entire company.” An ingenious and delicious opportunity to while away three months of winter. The illustration below depicts Membertou, a Mi’kmaq leader partaking in the meal. According to Yale history professor, Dr. John Mack Faragher, author of A Great And Noble Scheme – The Tragic Story of the Expulsion of the French Acadians from Their American Homeland: “L’Ordre de Bon Temps” was a French variant on a Micmaw custom, yet another marker of the extensive intercultural exchange taking place at Port Royal.

On April 1st, 1636, the Saint-Jehan arrived at La Heve, Acadie, with 300 passengers. Although some returned to France after having worked for three or four years as craftsmen or farmers, these families became the founding generation of the Acadians: Pierre Lejeune and wife and three young children; Jean Thériot and Perrine Rau; Vincent Brun and Renée Breau with two infants; Jean Gaudet and his three children; Martin Aucoin, his wife Marie Sallé and their four children; Michel Boudrot; Robert Cormier and his wife Marie Péraud; François Gautrot; Abraham Dugas; Antoine and Etienne Hébert; François Savoie; François Girouard; Daniel Leblanc; Michel Dupuis; Pierre Comeau; Antoine Belliveau; Vincent Breau; Antoine Babin and Pierre Thibodeau. By 1650, some fifty families were living and farming at Port Royal. Charles D’Aulnay reported that there were 200 people under his care, without counting their wives and children, nor the Capucin Fathers nor the Indian children.” (Faragher p44)


Civil war in Acadie


In 1632, Acadie had two legitimate governors recognized by Louis XIII: Isaac de Razilly and Charles de la Tour. After Razilly’s death in December 1635, the King of France names Charles de Menou d’Aulnay as Razilly’s successor while enjoining him to maintain good relations with La Tour. The problem lay in the geography the king had assigned to each man. Louis XIII gave d’Aulnay authority over much of the northern shore of the Gulf of Maine and the Baie Française (Bay of Fundy) but not its fort at the mouth of the St. John River. La Tour was given the present-day peninsula of Nova Scotia, but not Port Royal. Both men had claims in each other’s territory.  Thus, for the next twelve years, until d’Aulnay’s death in 1650, the two men fought continuously. (Griffiths From Migrant to Acadian p57)This civil war would have significant ramifications upon the relationship between Acadia and the English colonies.

In February 1651, Louis XIV, King of France, reestablishes La Tour as governor and lieutenant-general of Acadia. The Acadian Archives/Archives acadiennes of the University of Maine at Fort Kent has in its collections, the original commission (or a copy thereof) signed by Louis XIV (his regent). It not only appoints Charles de Saint-Étienne de la Tour governor and lieutenant-general of the French colony of Acadia, but more importantly it confirms an earlier appointment for those positions made by Louis XVI’s father, Louis XIII, in 1631. It also exonerates La Tour for his actions during the civil strife in Acadia between 1635 and 1645, and it goes further to criticize La Tour’s rival d’Aulnay for having prevented La Tour from exercising his lawful authority by favoring “enemies and accusations and suppositions that were not able to be verified and of which the said Saint-Étienne was absolved on the sixteenth of February last” (nine days prior to the issuance of the commission). As noted above, La Tour had been originally appointed governor and lieutenant-general of Acadia in 1631 by Louis XIV’s father, Louis XIII, during the closing phases of a period of warfare between France and England and, of course, their respective North American possessions.  (Acadian Archives MCC 00142 finding aid for more information): https://internal.umfk.edu/archives/findingaids/mcc142.pdf

Sources: Griffiths, Naomi: From migrant to Acadian: a North-American border people, 1604-1755. Montreal, 2005. John Mack Faragher, A Great And Noble Scheme – The Tragic Story of the Expulsion of the French Acadians from their American Homeland, New York, 2005The surviving members of the expedition to Ste Croix Island in 1604 crossed the Baye Française (Bay of Fundy) in 1605 and founded Port Royal (today Annapolis Royal). Along with Samuel de Champlain, there was Marc Lescarbot, who was trained as an attorney, but who became the first historian of North America with the publication of “Stories of New France” (1609), its first playwright “The Theater of Neptune” (1606) and its first poet “Muses of New France” (1606):

 


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