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HISTORY OF CANADA.   57

 

sued. French explorers and fur-traders pushed in from Lake Superior to secure for France the great north-west behind the territory of the Hudson's Bay Company.

The Acadians Cling to their Homes.—The little garrison at Annapolis contained all there was of British blood in Acadia. The Treaty of Utrecht secured to those Acadians who chose to stay, and to become British subjects, their lands and the free exercise of their religion. Those who chose to go had leave to sell their lands ; a somewhat doubtful privilege, however, as there was no one to buy. To guard the southern gateway to the St. Lawrence, the French, in 1714,. founded Louisbourg upon Cape Breton island ; and around the town a fortress, as strong as French engineers and New England stone and wood could make it, was constructed. It was at first intended that the island should be settled by the French inhabitants of Newfoundland and Acadia. The former were, indeed, removed to their new home ; but, despite the efforts of French officers from Louisbourg, the settlers of the Annapolis valley were unwilling "to leave their rich farms and risk starvation on a wild and barren island," and few only, from the immediate neighborhood of Annapolis, went to Louisbourg. At first the British were apparently as anxious as the French to induce the Acadians to migrate, but in a few years there was a change on both sides. The French of Cape Breton drew supplies freely from the region of the Annapolis valley and the Basin of Minas. They grew to believe that the recapture of Acadia would be a much easier task if a French population were there to rise in revolt when the proper time should come. The British garrison at Annapolis were left in almost complete neglect, and, when they found that no settlers were to be sent to take the Acadian farms, they naturally desired to retain the old owners, to whom they looked for supplies and provisions. At the same time, every effort was made to induce the Acadians to take the oath of allegiance to Queen Anne, or after her death to King George, but for many years without success.

A "Mock Government "—The Acadians Prosper.—The garrison at Annapolis seldom amounted to more than one hundred men, and this poor fort and a small block-house at Canso were the sole guardians of British power in Acadia during this period. Those in command did not hesitate to call it a "mock


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