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DESTRUCTION OF A FRENCH COLONY.
upon the bleak northern shores of Acadia, first under the mild government of their native France, and afterwards under the harsher but unresisted dominion of the English, they had inhabited the pleasant homes which their brave industry had conquered from the inhospitable soil and climate. The English court, on the heartless, baseless, and cruel pretence that these simple hearted habitans would rise against their conquerors, in aid of their brethren in Canada, deliberately resolved upon the fiendish measure of rooting up, robbing, and casting forth into helpless beggary the people of the entire province. Upon this devil's errand came an army to seize them, and a fleet to carry them. Helpless and unarmed, resistance was impossible, undreamed of. Lest, however, they should seek to return to their desolate homes, their money and property are stripped from them, and those homes are burned before their very eyes. Thus houseless and destitute, the stupefied wretches are hurried aboard of the feet, and in miserable groups, as pirates use their victims, landed naked and despairing on one and another barren sand-hill all along the desert coast of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.
The compassion of the neighboring people and authorities furnished them the necessary succor. But not able to endure the tongue even, or the companionship, of these subjects of the tyrant power, with a desperate bardihood nearly allied to the resistless stings of instinct, they gathered up the little resources which the friendly Anglo-Americans gave them, set their faces steadfastly westward, and in spite of peril and hardship, traversed a thousand miles of pathless primeval forest; embarked on the Ohio; and floated down two thousand miles more to the settlements of their happier kinsmen.
The whole city rose up to meet them. Every heart and home was opened wide to receive the unfortunate wanderers, to minister to their wants, to relieve their sorrows. Public benevolence vied with private charity in the noble strife of kindness. An allotment of land was granted to every family, and until they should be settled in the safe possession of means for their own support, to every household was dealt out from the royal store-houses, seeds, husbandman's tools, and daily sufficient rations of food. Thus was settled next above the “German Coast," which had been allotted to the refugees from the Arkansas settlement, that stretch of the Mississippi shore yet known as the “ Acadian Coast.” That neighborhood yet contains many of the descendents of those wanderers from the north, and in their hearts yet burns the fire of inextinguishable herediary enmity against the nation of their brutal oppressors, the English.
The war raged fiercely in the north ; and over one
CESSION OF TERRITORY TO THE BRITISH.
stronghold after another, the British lion replaced the white flag of France. Large numbers of Canadians, fleeing from the hated dominion of their conquerors, following upon the track of the Acadians, or across the well-known route through the Illinois country, came down the river; some halting, and settling
: however, on the Upper Mississippi ; and thus the population of the province received a large and valuable augmentation at the expense of Britain.
In 1763, by the treaty of Paris, the beaten and humbled kingdom of France, exhausted with the long and distant struggle, unwillingly yielded the prize of the strife, and ceded to England the enormous territory of Canada and the whole Mississippi valley, east of the river, except a small portion south of Bayou Iberville (or Manchac), including New Orleans. By the same treaty Spain ceded to England the whole of Florida; and thus did Great Britain gain all North America east of the Mississippi.
The French posts in the Illinois, and Forts Rosalie, Baton Rouge, Toulouse, and Condé, were soon in the hands of English garrisons, and the southern portion of the new acquisition being erected into the governments of East and West Florida, the provincial organizations of the English were speedily completed, upon a sort of mixed footing, half military and half civil. Many of the French, impatient of the English yoke, flee across to the western side of the Mississippi, or within the immediate dependen cies of New Orleans, that they may still live beneath the beloved rule of their native monarch. But the rumor creeps about that western Louisiana too has passed away from the power of the French king; that province, people and all, have been given secretly away into the hands of Spain. As the story gains consistency and belief, murmurs of dissatisfaction and anger increase; and when at last the definite confirmation of the report comes in dispatches to M. Abadie, the governor ad interim, the disappointed inhabitants are in so dangerous and wrathful a ferment that the Spaniards hesitate to attempt taking possession, and for many months await the discontinuance of the excitement. But it rather increases. Conscious of dutiful and loving services to the French crown, unable to understand the reason of this heartless diplomatic transfer, hurt and angry, yet still hoping that the misfortune is not inevitable, they meet together, and appoint deputies to present the urgent and humble petition of the province, that they may by some means be retained within the paternal rule of France. Their delegate, M. Milhet, a wealthy and respected merchant, reaching Paris, enlists the aged Bienville, now eighty-seven years old, in his cause, and together they lay their entreaties and those of the province,
CESSION OF WESTERN LOUISIANA TO SPAIN.
before the prime minister. But “reasons of State” have little to do with the rights, or wishes, or love of a people. The transfer is a foregone conclusion. The minister, resolved upon the measure, artfully manages to keep M. Milhet from an audience with the king, and he returns disappointed and discouraged. A second time he goes, and a second time comes hopeless home. Don Antonio de Ulloa, with a Spanish force, at last enters New Orleans, but
perceiving the depth of the feeling he had to encounter, he delays presenting his commission, and waits for more troops. They arrive; yet he delays. It is nearly three years since the province was thus given away, and yet the popular dissatisfaction rather increases. A strong fleet is heard of at Havana; it is feared that it is intended for the province; the people are upon the verge of armed insurrection. Ulloa, a temporizing man, being at length called upon by the superior council of the province, either to produce his authority or to leave the country, determines to do the latter, and embarks on one of the Spanish vessels in the river. The populace cut the cables by night. She drops down the stream, and does not return, and her consorts follow. Once more a petition is sent to the French king; but now, a strong Spanish force, under the stern and energetic Don Alexander O'Reilly, is already on the way to the province. With short