Pierre Mons, along with 79 other settlers, set

Pierre Dugua Sieur de Mons of Saintonge, France was a French colonizer and loyal supporter of King Henry IV. On behalf of his outstanding service during the religious wars in France, he was granted permission under the King to colonize lands in North America in 1603 as well as a monopoly for the regions fur trade (Brasseaux 5). The following year in 1604 De Mons, along with 79 other settlers, set up a colony at St. Croix Island. However, because these men weren’t adapt to the unbearable winter conditions, they moved their colony to Port Royal, Nova Scotia. Following France’s defeat in the Seven Years’ War against the British, France surrendered the Acadian territory through the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. The Acadians which remained in this territory were forced to either conform to British rule or flee elsewhere. Despite the British’s forced assimilation many of the remaining Acadians continued to engage in their own activities, such as the practice of their Catholic faith.

The British became increasingly intolerant of their non-conformist ways, viewing them a threat, and eventually expelled all Acadians from their territory (the great expulsion). Those which refused to vacate would be “arrested and detained” and eventually carried into exile. Despite the Acadians “fierce independence” they were under extreme pressure to find a new domain to re-establish their culture as all of their property and other personal possessions were either seized or destroyed by the British. Following the Great Expulsion, the Acadians involuntarily explored possible territories which would be acceptive of their identity- a major identifier being their Catholic religion. The colony of Maryland seemed to be a well suitable location mainly due to their Catholic legacy.

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In 1755, the Acadians left their Canadian homeland and journeyed to what seemed like a well suitable new homeland. At the time of this forced exile, however, an anti-Acadian propaganda campaign began to surface describing them as “the most ignorant slavish Herd of Bigots (37).” Because of this off-putting depiction, anti-Catholicism feelings began to arise especially since Maryland was still predominantly Protestant.

This was just the beginning of the many exploitations the Acadians would endure before finding actual refugee. Upon arrival to this new colony, many of the Maryland inhabitants has prejudiced views and distrusted their intentions. Anti-Acadian views were furthered by Maryland newspapers, warning the locals of their affiliation with the French threats.

During their time in Maryland they were not given any governmental support and were forced to make provisions for themselves. They were offered little job opportunities but they were low-paying and inadequate. Poverty levels were high for the Acadians and suitable housing was out of the question.While most of the Maryland inhabitants were opposed to offering aid to the Acadians, there were were humanitarians which did attempt to assist them. For example, Andrew Stygar funded Acadian housing in Baltimore for a short period of time. When he halted his financing, a small group of Acadians were able to move to private housing, however the majority were exiled to a two-story house built by Edward Fotterell (Brasseaux 39). Over time they were able to find jobs as sailors and longshoremen, improving their living situations as well. By 1763, a majority of Acadians were able to desert their prior housing for “cabins or huts” (Lauvrière 19).

In 1756, Governor Sharpe of Maryland backed the support and aid for the Acadians, however discouraged their mobility back to their initial homeland. Any attempt at which to escape would have resulted in binding discipline (Stollers 12). In response to Sharpe’s bill, Maryland legislature responded by ordering the exiles to “procure a comfortable subsistence for themselves” (?). In june of 1765, all Acadians who were unemployed would be confined until they were able to find a job to support their costs’ of living. Another provision of this law was that Acadians needed a special passport if they wished to travel over ten miles from their home and ignorance of this would result in jailment of up to five days.Alongside their economic distress, the Acadians were still indebted with poverty, resulting in inadequate diets and housing.

Thus, the spread of disease became a major hardship for the Acadians. Pneumonia and a smallpox epidemic in 1757 resulted in the death of many AcadiansNearing the end of the Seven Years’ War, Acadians had little hope for a revival of their culture. These views became prominent when Acadian parents saw their children adopt the English language. Those who were apart of local businesses abandoned their cultural identities and conformed to the indigenous ways.  

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