324 | To the Earl of Halifax

    Boston Dec 3. 1764

    My Lord

    I informed your Lordship of an emigration of Acadians made from hence to the Isle of St Pierre some time ago,1 & also of a transportation of a considerable body of them from Connecticut to Hispaniola: and I added that I did not know of any preparations for the remainder of them going from hence. But in that I have been deceived: for I now learn, that in the latter part of the summer (at which time I was absent for 5 weeks on my Voyage to the Eastward) a Negotiation has been carried on by the agency of British Merchants & Masters of Vessels for transporting the Acadians in New England to Hispaniola there to form a New Colony at Cap St Nichola. The Occasion of my discovering this was as follows.

    About 3 or 4 weeks ago, being at Castle William in this bay, I observed an outbound Brig, which answered “for the West Indies” very full of people. Going to Town the next day I enquired into this; & was told that She was full of french Neutrals going to Hispaniola. She was then got out of my reach & I could not stop her: I thereupon enquired into the particulars of the embarkation; & learnt that The Brig belonged to Rhode Island & came hither to take up these people; that there had been other embarkations made from hence in Vessels of this province; that the french Governor allowed evry Master of a Vessel that brought Acadians to purchase an hogshead of Sugar for evry Acadian, & I suppose some pay also for their freight; That the Acadians were continually coming out of the Country to embark here.

    I therefore laid this Matter before the Council last week; & by their Advice I issued a Proclamation as is inclosed.2 This brought sevral Acadians to me compla[i]ning3 that they had broke up their houses in the Country to come hither & embark & now they were prevented: I told them they shou[ld] have Consulted me before they broke up up[on] such a design. They said I promist not to confine them: I answered that I promist them no other liberty but that of English Subjects; & no such would be permitted to go to settle in large bodies in foreign Dominion[s.] However I told them if they would give in a Memorial & show by what Authority they went thither, I would transmitt it to your Lordship & take your orders upon it.4

    Accordingly They have this day given in a Memorial, a Copy of which, correcting the bad spelling, I inclose with this. They also showed me a5 Manifest of the French Governor,6 a copy of which is here enclosed.7 And They Added that if I detained them ever so long I should never make them English; and I really beleive them. I therefore should not have prevented them, if I had thought that I could, consistently with my duty, suffer them to be carried off in such numbers & so publickly under my own eye. For this Embargo will not stop them: they have only to go to Rhode Island & there they may embark when they please.

    The Numbers that have gone from this province are as follows. To St Pierre as before about 97; to Hispaniola in the Brig 103; in 3 other Vessels from this port, 30 at a time, 90, total allready gone 290.8 They say there are about 300 more that intend to go to Hispaniola of which the families which sign the Memorial are less than half. The whole then will be about 600, which I suppose are about two thirds of all the Acadians in this province. They say there are Masters enough ready to carry them thither for nothing. I ask who pays for their passage & their provisions: they answer they know not; they are not to pay themselves.

    I humbly submit the foregoing to your Lordship, & pray your directions in what manner I am to act in case such applications shall continue to be made to me. There is a Considerable body of Acadians living near this Town, who, I understand do not intend to go.

    I am, with the great respect, My Lord, Your Lordships most obedient & most humble Servant

    Fra. Bernard

    The Right Honble The Earl of Halifax

    ALS, RC CO 5/755, ff 155-158.