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JULY, 1904.

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CAPE BRETON-LOUISBOURG.

BY THE REV. SELBY JEFFERSON.

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But the fact that the fortunes of the North American continent were fought out here, and that here was settled whether French or English speech and spirit should shape the New World's future, is what, above all else, will ever stir men's minds and draw the feet of pilgrims to these shores.

dredged up cannon are mounted, rust-eaten and harmless, yet reminding one still of the stirring times when they spat fire as living things, and were hot with cannonading in fierce attack or brave defence.*

Leaving the Sydney and Louisbourg train at the eastern end of the line, it is hard to realize that, less than a hundred and fifty years ago, a man-eating Indian's wigwam may have stood where the station stands; and, near that odd-looking spider-leglike pier at which, in the distance, Black Diamond boats are coaling, was the gun-bristling Grand Battery of one of the strongest fortresses in the world-France's pride and hope of empire this side the long-leagued sea.

To the right as one leaves the depot, by the flagstaff, two recently

VOL. XX. No. 1.

How well these two peoples, the English and the French, came to close in deadly combat here, is a longer story than this magazine allows us to tell. Yet some of the chief actors in the drama may be noted, and, here and there, we may see where the tide of interest sets

strongest toward that time when our fathers unfurled the Cross of St. George where the lilied flag of France had flown.

When Spain tapped the mines of Mexico and stirred the jealousy of Europe by their incredible wealth, France sent forth first one and then another explorer to find out what, beside fish, might, north of Spain's possessions, be turned into her treasury. In 1603 two men, Champlain and Pontgravee, prompted chiefly by the vast possibilities of the fur trade, sailed from Honfleur, found fur in abundance, and, what was of infinitely more importance, founded a New France. With Quebee and the interior Champlain's name will ever be associated, but the beginnings of Acadia, and the building there of the first French fort, Port Royal (Annapolis), was

*Two similar cannon are mounted in Queen's Park, Toronto, which had lain fathoms deep for well-nigh a century and a half.

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In 1604 the shadow of the priest appeared, and in the early years of the seventeenth century, a certain English Captain Argall seized a Frenchman who had dared set foot ashore at Gaspe to claim the mainland, and, burning Port Royal, began that stern conflict which, only after a hundred and fifty years of stintless waste in men and money, decided what should be the character of this continent.

Eighteen years after Argall's exploit, Canada and Acadia were ceded to France by the treaty of St. Germain. But by the treaty of Utrecht in 1713, Acadia was restored to England. Quickly the war clouds. gathered, for just what Acadia meant had never been ally announced. Certainly no one officihad dreamt before of excluding Cape Breton from the term. Yet into the treaty these words were gotten: "The island Breton of Cape shall hereafter belong of right to the King of France, who shall have liberty to fortify any place or places therein." It had suddenly dawned on the court at Versailles that the place was, strategically, of prime importance.

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Forced, then, by this treaty to forsake Port Royal in Nova Scotia, and Plaisance, now Placentia, in Terra Nova, France concentrated her forces in this little island,

and held it as a mother

holds the one

child left of a large family. She fixed on Louisbourg as

CAPTURE OF LOUISBOURG, 1745.

What these were was soon to be seen. Scarcely had she settled at Louisbourg when men were moving to and fro, trying to stir the Acadians to revolt in hope of winning back what had been bartered away. Failing any immediate result it was hoped that the seed thus sown would yield a happy harvest by and by. In view of this, and to begun in 1720. prepare for it, fortifications were "Henceforth for more than twenty-five years the French Government devoted all

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MAP OF LOUISBOURG, 1758.

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Sketch by Lieutenant Thomas Davies, A.R., made during the siege.

its energy and resources to one object-their completion."

How well the place lent itself to such a purpose may be seen from the diagram on page 5: Breaking east, and west of the narrow entrance are the billows of the broad Atlantic. The ship channel is about six hundred yards wide. On an island to the left was built a strong battery. Right ahead of vessels entering, and up to within some seven hundred yards of which ships-of-the-line must sail, was the Royal Battery, mounting twentyeight forty-two pounder, and two eighteen-pounder guns, manned by two hundred men. (See map.) Out on the low lying land the city was built, the walls extending some twelve hundred yards or

more.

such account of the state of the fortress and the mutinous spirit of its garrison, that a few Massachusetts men had the audacity to imagine the place might be taken. Among these was Governor Shirley, and a merchant by the name of William Vaughan. The Assembly itself, on the 26th of January, 1745, decided, by one vote, that the thing could and should be done.

Now there was room enough for these French folk to have dwelt at peace with their New England neighbours. Possibly, too, they would have so dwelt, but for the priest. Behind the governor, Duquesnel, was the influence of the Church, when, in 1744, he sent a party to seize Canseau, the nearest Acadian fishing and military station. A missionary priest himself was at hand to help with his three hundred Indian braves. Had these aggressors fared as well at Annapolis as they did at Canseau, it might have gone ill with New England. But their full force never met before the walls of that town. The different companies failed somehow to rendezvous.

It turned out, too, that their success at Canseau was their undoing than their failure more to at Port Royal. For, whilst the whole affair had shown the colonist what a menace to their fisheries, and, indeed, to Acadia itself. Cape Breton was in the hands of the French, certain prisoners, taken from Canseau to Louisbourg, and sent thence to Boston, had given

Without a day's delay preparations were pushed forward. Contributions in vessels, guns, and men came in from all sides, but on Massachusetts the heaviest burden fell. She raised and officered over three thousand fighters. Over this raw material was set, as commander-in-chief, a certain William Pepperell, a merchant and militia colonel of Maine, and a man of religious disposition. Such was the army that sailed on the 24th of March, in 1745, to take from the veterans of France the strongest fortress in America.

But, after all, inspire such men with a patriotic impulse, men used in field and wood to live near

nature's heart; above all, get them
to think they are doing God's ser-
vice, and you have the stuff of
which stern Ironsides are made,
men who at Louisbourg, on Mar-
ston Moor, or South African veldt,
always give a good account of
themselves. So "Nil desperandum
Christo duce
to be the
watchword, given by George White-
field, of the whole campaign, and
the spirit of the Crusaders was
abroad.

came

Then there followed what these men believed were answers to their prayers. To us supremely practical and materialistic folk of to-day, it may seem to have been but a happy combination of circumstances. But did it matter that the civilization of these lands to-day be that of the Anglo-Saxon? Had Heaven any purpose better furthered possibly

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