231 | To the Board of Trade

    Boston Aug. 13. 1763__

    My Lords

    I wrote to your Lordships the 28th of last month861 informing that severall of the Acadians called french Neutrals had been with me to signify their intention to go to Old France, for which purpose they expected transports from France: & I desired your Lordships directions how I should act upon this occasion. They have since brought me a list of the persons who intend to go,862 which I have analysed & find it stands thus. Families __ 179

    Heads of families, Persons__








    This I take to be very near, if not quite, the whole Number of french Acadians within this Province.

    If these people return to France as french Subjects they must be considered as prisoners of War & therefore their Subsistence ought to be paid for. This Government some time ago made out an Account of the Money expended in the maintenance of the french Acadians which has been continued; & by papers now lying before me I find amounts to 9,544 pounds sterling due to this province on that account. I don’t find that this has been as yet laid before any of his Majestys Ministers: but this will be thought a proper time to do it & I expect the Agent will be ordered to sollicit it. In this I flatter myself he will succeed, not only because it is justly due to the Province who have had the burthen of these people without being like to reap any benefit from them, but also because the Crown of France, who considers these as it’s Subjects & is to demand them accordingly is chargeable with this expence. These Accounts will be transmitted to our Agent in form; at present I only mention the sum total that an early consideration of it may be had.863

    I have this day received (under a cover directed by Mr Pownall) a letter from Jacques Robins a french Protestant intending to settle at Miramichy,864 desiring me to deliver two inclosed letters to Jaqui Maurice, a french Neutral well known to me, tending to persuade him to settle at Miramichy with the rest of the Acadians. I hope it will have effect, notwithstanding it comes rather too late: for I know so much of the industry & frugality of these people, that I have been very desirous that they should not be lost to British America. I have hitherto advised them to suspend their resolution to quit the Country till they know what offers they would have to settle here. I am inclined to think that these letters will still detain some of them.

    I informed your Lordships, in a former letter, that if his Majesty should be pleased to confirm to me the Island of Mount desart, It was my intention to set up Works for making Potash on that Island. I have accordingly enquired into that business & have met with a Gentleman865 who has surmounted all difficulties & has obtained a process different from & more easy & efficacious than any other known. He sent to London last year some potash that was allowed to be better than any heretofore imported. He has now freighted 23 tuns, which he has submitted to the Society for Arts. He is very communicative & has engaged to furnish me, with instructions utensils & an experienced foreman, whenever I shall be at Liberty to pursue it. This Business is very well calculated for clearing of lands: & I dont doubt but when it is more known, it will be generally practised, so as to make a considerable return to Great Britain.

    The orders I received for proclaiming peace I executed with all possible Solemnity;866 for which I beg leave to refer your Lordships to the printed Accounts which are in general true. This was due to the People as well as to the Subject itself; for however they may be divided upon other Matters, they are unanimous (to a Man as far as I can learn in a thankful Approbation of the Treaty of Peace).

    I am with great respect, My Lords, your Lordships__ most obedient & most humble Servant

    Fra Bernard

    The Right Honble The Lords Commissioners for Trade &c

    LS, RC CO 5/891, ff 185-186.

    The “printed account” that was enclosed with this letter was probably a copy of the Boston Gazette, 1 Aug. 1763, which contained on p 1: By His Excellency Francis Bernard, Esq; … A proclamation for a thanksgiving … Thursday the eleventh day of August next … Given at the Council-chamber in Boston, the twenty-seventh day of July, 1763.

    This letter was read by the Board of Trade on 24 Oct. 1763. An extract concering the Acadians was referred to the secretary of state on 26 Oct. with a representation from the Board. JBT, 11: 399.