A History of Canada - Vol. 2

By Gustave Lanctot; Margaret M. Cameron | Go to book overview

CHAPTER NINETEEN
REVIEW: PLACENTIA AND ACADIA
1670-1713

Terms of the Treaty of Utrecht. Placentia: a languishing colony. Increase in the population of Acadia. Agriculture. Way of life. Economic activity. Administration. Port Royal. Lack of roads. Quarrels and recriminations. Virtues of the Acadian. Weakness of the colony: its neglect by France.

After twelve years of war, the Treaty of Utrecht restored peace in Europe. Marshal Villars had won a great victory at Denain in 1712, but France's treasury was empty, and "with sorrow written on his face," Louis XIV was obliged to accept the hard conditions dictated by his enemies' coalition. His grandson, who had become the King of Spain, renounced his claim to the throne of France, the Spanish Netherlands passed into the hands of Austria, and the fortifications of Dunkirk were to be destroyed. 1

In America, the treaty cut deeply into the fabric of the colonial empire. France ceded to England the island of St. Kitts, the Hudson Bay basin and all its forts and the Bay itself. In Newfoundland she retained only the right to fish and to dry fish on its shores north of Bonavista on the east coast and north of Pointe Riche on the west coast. She suffered an even more grievous loss in the cession of "all Nova Scotia or Acadia as defined by its original boundaries." The French plenipotentiaries had received explicit instructions to agree to this surrender only "in the last extremity," but they were helpless. Under vigorous pressure from New England which was determined to conquer Acadia and thus to lay, once and for all, the spectre of Franco-Indian raids, London refused categorically to restore the colony to France. Of all its Acadian possessions, France retained only the islands of St. Jean ( Prince Edward Island) and Cape Breton, and their worth was very considerably

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