Saturday, November 20, 2010

November 20, 1755: Arrival of the First Acadian Deportation Ships at the British Colony Ports

The First Acadian Deportation Ships began arriving at the British Colony Ports November 20, 1755. Although the ships began to arrive, the captains of these ships were given orders to remain in port and keep the Acadians on the ships. Thus begins the second phase of Le Grand Dérangement in which the Acadians were held as prisoners on the ships and were refused permission to disembark. 

The Acadians arrived in the British colonies at the worst possible time. From " Star-Democrat Weekend Magazine, February 15, 1980; REFUGEES, ESPECIALLY FRENCH CATHOLICS WITHOUT FUNDS FOUND CHILLY RECEPTION HERE; (First of two Articles);by Dickson J. Preston": 
"England and France were in a state of undeclared war, and things were going badly for the English colonists in America. In July 1755 had come word of General Braddock's terrible defeat at Fort Duquesne, during which only young Col. George Washington of Virginia had shown military skill. All along the frontiers, the French and Indians were on the attack, murdering settlers, burning forts and houses, capturing livestock and carrying off scalps as trophies of war."

The Acadian exiles were unloaded in Maryland "just when the waves of Francophobia and anti‑Catholicism had crested. (Brasseaux ‑ FOUNDING OF A NEW ACADIA ‑ p. 37) This hostile attitude was strengthened by the articles that had been appearing in the Maryland Gazette throughout the summer and early fall of 1755 describing, what was obviously false rumors and accounts of murder and laying the country to waste being committed by the French and their Indian allies. Basil Sollers in his "The Acadians (French Neutrals) Transported to Maryland" that appeared in the Maryland Historical Magazine Vol III ‑ March, 1908 ‑ No. 1", reports on the propaganda and inflamatory articles that appeared in the Maryland Gazette in the summer and early fall of 1755. (Basil Sollers ‑ THE ACADIANS (FRENCH NEUTRALS) TRANSPORTED TO MARYLAND , pp 1‑5)

Many of the ships held the Acadians on board at port for between three and six months as they began to die from starvation, the horrific spread of fatal disease, and wretched sanitation conditions. The crowding of the ships made conditions aboard the vessels dangerous to health.

November 20, 1755
The Maryland Gazette announces the arrival of the first ship at Annapolis, Maryland, the Leopard, with 178 Acadian passengers from the region of Grand-Pré. The Ranger will arrive a few days later with 208 Acadians from Pigiguit.

The Leopard (87 tons burden, Thomas Church, master) with 178 passengers, an excess of 4 arrived in Annapolis harbor on November 20, 1755, followed by the Elizabeth (93 tons burden, Nathaniel Milbury, master), with 242 passengers, an excess of 56 over her complement. These two ships carried the Acadians from Grand Pré. (Basil Sollers ‑ THE ACADIANS (FRENCH NEUTRALS) TRANSPORTED TO MARYLAND , p 7)

The captains were refused immediate landing in the absence of Governor Sharpe, by the Maryland council. The captain of the Elizabeth, Nathanial Milberry, filed a complaint to the Maryland Council, stating that he was ordered to the Wicomico River area of the Eastern Shore to wait Governor Sharpe's review, but that no provisions were made for any compensation for food and supplies. ( Gregory Wood Acadians in Maryland - A Guide to the Acadians in Maryland in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries.)

Less than a year after Le Grand Dérangement, legislation was passed in Maryland, which authorized the imprisonment of homeless Acadians and the “binding out” of their children to other families. 

The Acadians were quartered virtually as prisoners, not to leave town without a written permit of the selectmen under penalty of five days in prison or ten lashes. they depended on the cold hand of the public for food clothes and lodging and were given some provisions. (27 May 1756, Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly of Maryland ‑[ Baltimore, 1930] 24: 542 ff. ‑ also Sollers "The Acadians (French Neutrals) Transported to Maryland" ‑ Maryland Historical Magazine 3 (1907): 18. Governors of the colonies received the Acadians with varying degrees of hostility. Governor Dulany of Maryland wrote: "They have eaten us up" 

The death toll in Maryland was heavy and by the time of the census of 1763, the population shrank from 913 in December, 1755 to 667 in 1763. Approximately 27% of the Acadians that were in Maryland died.

Click here for the Official Records of Robert Dinwiddie, LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR OF THE COLONY OF VIRGINIA, 1751-1758 and to obtain an idea of the utter malice and dissent  that the British held for the Acadians.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Excellent Cajun product from South Louisiana!

Low on the salt and big on the taste!

Peanuts Kajun Spice mix contains very low salt content - 35 mg per 1/4 teaspoon. That's approximately 140 mg per tsp as opposed to other similar Cajun and Creole seasonings which border 1240 mg sodium PER TSP! A healthy adult needs between 1500 and 2400 mgs of sodium per day, Kajun Spice is an awesome alternative without sacrificing authentic Cajun taste!

I have a can in my kitchen and let me tell ya, "Mais cher, C'est si bon, le mieux! ("It is so good, the best!")". A great product to enjoy great taste, be health conscious and support local Louisiana Products!

Peanuts Kajun Spices Website:  Peanuts Kajun Spices

(All products at Peanuts Kajun Spices are products certified authentic cajun by "Certified Cajun Product of Louisiana")

Monday, November 1, 2010

What a way to ride.. Oh, what a way to go...

Broke down along the coast
But what hurt the most
When the people there said
"You better keep movin' on"..

Acadian Driftwood, The Band, Northern Lights/Southern Cross lp

~ Musician, Poet, Hero, Friend - Robbie Robertson

To say that the song Acadian Driftwood has special significance for the Acadian ('Acadien' in French) people is beyond understatement! It was penned by The Band's Robbie Robertson, after he watched a documentary on Canadian television-- ACADIE, ACADIE, the story about Le Grand Dèrangement of 1755, the brutal, forced exile of the Acadiens from their American homeland of L'Acadie, now called Nova Scotia & New Brunswick, Canada. The account of the refugees making their way down from Canada to Louisiana where they became known as Cajuns, touched him deeply, resulting in this acclaimed musical masterpiece that touches the heart and soul of every Acadien.

When I first heard it way back when the Northern Lights / Southern Cross album was released in 1975, it was a powerful awakening! I knew that I was Acadien-Cajun but my family never gave us kids any details about what they euphemistically called "The Deportation". Once I realized the song was about notre histoire, our history, it was an emotional hit that prompted me to explore my cultural roots and powers me today, still. When I 'got' la vérité, the truth about the horrific exile of our ancestors, the song became more than just a song, it turned into a very personal anthem which brings tears to my eyes every single time I listen to it.

Now that more Acadiens are realizing the truth and the need to preserve this special culture, our cultural awakening, "Le Grand Réveil" is in high gear. I have the remarkable Robbie Robertson to thank for igniting the spark in me and we all have him to thank for cette chanson très important, this very important song!

Beaucoup de mercis éternellement.. eternal thanks Robbie and The Band! 

~ Evangeline Aucoin Gaudet

"One of Robbie Robertson’s all- time masterpieces, the album’s cornerstone".

"Robbie’s ability to create an historical voice that can speak so eloquently for several thousand real ones is a rare and precious gift".

"To capture the old time feel of the French at the end, Robbie consulted Quebecois lyricist and playwright Michel Lefebure and François Cousineau to help with the translation. It is hard to imagine anyone else in the world of popular music being able to pull this off. The net result is as evocative and magical as music ever gets."

From Northern Lights / Southern Cross album liner notes - Rob Bowman


Acadian Driftwood lyrics:

The war was over and the spirit was broken
The hills were smokin' as the men withdrew
We stood on the cliffs
Oh, and watched the ships
Slowly sinking to their rendezvous
They signed a treaty and our homes were taken
Loved ones forsaken
They didn't give a damn
Try'n' to raise a family
End up the enemy
Over what went down on the plains of Abraham

Acadian driftwood
Gypsy tail wind
They call my home the land of snow
Canadian cold front movin' in
What a way to ride
Oh, what a way to go

Then some returned to the motherland
The high command had them cast away
And some stayed on to finish what they started
They never parted
They're just built that way
We had kin livin' south of the border
They're a little older and they've been around
They wrote a letter life is a whole lot better
So pull up your stakes, children and come on down

Fifteen under zero when the day became a threat
My clothes were wet and I was drenched to the bone
Been out ice fishing, too much repetition
Make a man wanna leave the only home he's known
Sailing out of the gulf headin' for Saint Pierre
Nothin' to declare
All we had was gone
Broke down along the coast
But what hurt the most
When the people there said
"You better keep movin' on"

Everlasting summer filled with ill-content
This government had us walkin' in chains
This isn't my turf
This ain't my season
Can't think of one good reason to remain
I've worked in the sugar fields up from New Orleans
It was ever green up until the floods
You could call it an omen
Points ya where you're goin'
Set my compass north
I got winter in my blood

Acadian driftwood
Gypsy tail wind
They call my home the land of snow
Canadian cold front movin' in
What a way to ride
Ah, what a way to go

Sais tu, A-ca-di-e, j'ai le mal du pays

Ta neige, Acadie, fait des larmes au soleil
J'arrive Acadie, teedle um, teedle um, teedle ooh

( english translation of ending )

You know, A-ca-di-e, I get homesick
Your snow, Acadia, makes tears in the sun
I arrive Acadia, teedle um, teedle um, teedle ooh

~ Robbie Robertson

:: Right on notre frère, right on brother Robbie!

RIP Rick Danko & Richard Manuel  ((*))