237 | From the Earl of Halifax

    St: James’s October 15th: 1763.


    The Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations having transmitted to me Your Letter to Them of the 24th. of August last,928 together with the Opinion of the Council of Your Province, upon an Application made to You by Sixteen Families of the French Acadians for Passports to go to the Island of St: Peters, lately ceded to France, I immediately laid the same before The King, and I have the Satisfaction to acquaint You that His Majesty approves the Resolutions You came to upon that Matter, which You, and the Council, have considered in it’s true Light. By my Letter to You of the 20th: September last, You will have seen that His Majesty considers those Acadians as upon the same Footing with the rest of His Roman Catholick Subjects in America.929 It is, therefore, as You rightly judge it to be, Your Duty, on the one Hand, neither to encourage, nor facilitate, their Departure, nor, on the other, to attempt to confine them in the Province against their Wills. It should be the first Object of Your Endeavours to induce them to settle in such Places as may be agreable to themselves, and, at the same Time, most consistent with the Publick Peace and Security, and to become good Subjects, and usefull Inhabitants. But if, as You observe, they cannot be prevailed upon so to settle, in good Humour, and for good Purposes, the Liberty of removing themselves out of the Province, or out of His Majesty’s Dominions, cannot be denied to them as Subjects; and it would, perhaps, be no less imprudent than impracticable to prohibit their migration. In that Case, however, His Majesty relies on Your Care, and Vigilance, in discovering their Designs, and in giving Notice thereof to His Majesty’s Governors of those Provinces into which they may intend to remove, to the End that proper measures may be taken for preventing such Consequences as might endanger the Security of those Provinces.

    I take this Opportunity of acquainting You, that His Most Christian Majesty’s Minister here, in Answer to the Letter which in my last I informed You I had written Him in Consequence of Your Letter to the Board of Trade of the 28th. of July,930 has assured me, that His Court had never had any Intention of sending Transports to bring away the French Acadians from Your Government. I shall, however, expect to receive from You the several Informations required by my said Letter, and depend on Your constant Care and Attention in informing me of every Circumstance, which may happen with respect to the Settlement or Removal of those People.

    I am with great Truth and Regard, Sir, Your most Obedient humble Servant,

    Dunk Halifax

    Francis Bernard Esqr: Governor of His Majesty’s Province of the Massachuset’s Bay

    LS, RC BP, 10: 135-138.

    Some 140 Acadians left the province for the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon. When the British government disallowed emigration to foreign lands in 1764, FB and the Council, in Dec. of that year, refused a petition for four hundred Acadians to go to the French Leeward Islands. In 1766, the province assisted in transporting the remaining Acadians to Quebec. Lowe, “Massachusetts and the Acadians,” at 227-228.