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Researching the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
  Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada


Louisbourg: A Focus of Conflict 

H E 13


Peter Bower

March 1970

Fortress of Louisbourg

Chapter VIII: Louisbourg, the Chimaera

Commodore Charles Knowles, who arrived at Louisbourg in June to replace Warren [1] as governor, was horrified by the conditions at the fortress. A rather-pompous and officious man, a chronic jeremiad, but talented and well-educated, he possessed sound views on the importance of sea power, which in part led him to minimize the potential value of Louisbourg as a naval station. His constant complaints and criticisms of Louisbourg helped undermine the value the British ministry attached to the fortress as a major installation and to Cape Breton Island as a permanent British colony. Soon after his arrival at the fortress, Knowles and Bastide, the chief engineer, submitted a report to Newcastle describing the wretched state of the garrison and the fortifications. The concluding paragraph of their submission summarized their point of view: 

Upon the whole the General design of the Fortifications is Exceeding Bad and the Workmanship worse Executed and is so Disadvantageously Situated that almost every rising Ground or little Eminence Commands one part or other, that either a Vast Sum of money must be laid out to Fortifye it properly or it will never answer the Charge or Trouble. [2]

The men were desperately overcrowded and even when all the houses left standing were utilized and the hospital converted to barracks, only 1,900 of the 2,500 men in the garrison could be accommodated, "so that there is a necessity of Erecting the proposed Barracks as fast as Possible .... [3] In a letter to Corbett-dated July 16, Knowles wrote that "in General it is the most miserable Ruinous place I ever beheld." [4 ]Part of the reason for the shortage of shelter, explained Knowles, was that many of the houses had been pulled apart by the New Englanders for fuel during that dreadful winter, "and not one of those. left standing but wanted repairs."[5]

Many New England merchants envisaged Louisbourg as a potentially lucrative trading place in the colonial system. As soon as the weather permitted, vessels began to put in to the harbour to take advantage of the new market where so many shortages had been reported. By mid-June, Warren had reported that the fortress was glutted with rum, sugar and molasses, with the result that merchants could expect only low prices for these commodities Knowles had a Jaundiced opinion of the regular troops who had arrived to garrison the fortress, and he agreed wholeheartedly with Warren's assessment that the Gibraltar soldiers were "drunken Currs" who should be issued nothing stronger than beer, certainly not rum. [6] Knowles wrote to the secretary of the Admiralty, Thomas Corbett:

As the Commerce of this place was Changed from Fish to Rum and the loss of so many of the New England Troops last year was principally Occasioned by that Destructive Liquor, I found myself oblig'd for the preservation of his Majesty's Forces to endeavour to put a stop to the Vending it in such unlimited quantities, and as Admiral Warren just before his departure had publish'd an order for every Suttler to Lodge what Spiritous Liquors they were possess'd of in the Citadell Casemates, I carried that order in Execution, and though I had an Account render'd me of 64,000 Gallons, yet from the Quantity that was [not] secured there was seldom less than 1000 Men Drunk a Day for some time but that being now pretty well Expended I have the pleasure to tell their Lordship's the good Effects are already visible, but I am sorry to observe at the same time notwithstanding all the encouragement promised by Admiral Warren to Fishermen to come here to Settle and my offering them Houses, Boats, lines, Hooks, and Netts Gratis, there is but two Settled here yet, and those rather out of restraint than choice; I having forbid them to sell Rum so that this place is not likely to be Inhabited soon by any other than the Kings Troops (unless Rum Sellers). [7]

The new governor saw nothing to recommend the location and harbour of Louisbourg. He wrote: 

The Harbour is very indifferent both as to the Anchoring Ground and Security against Winds and the Land is the most barren Spot on Earth: There is not ten feet of good Ground clear of Rocks or Swamps in the Compass of many Leagues that it will never afford Sufficient Herbage for Beasts much less Grain and Necessaries for the Support of the Inhabitants which the French Poor complain'd greatly of so that Granting Lands can never be an Encouragement for Settlers to come here, and for the Fishery the French acknowledge it to be more Subject to Foggs than any of the neighbouring Islands or places upon the Continent and therefore not so proper for Curing and drying of Fish neither are the Codd Fish so plenty, so large or so well fed as the Fish upon the Banks of Newfound Land, and the Coast of Accadia, and the reason is obvious because this Island is all Rocks and the other place are Sandy where the best Fish are generally caught and resort in great numbers. [ 8]

Knowles requested instructions concerning the careening wharf which Warren had proposed be rebuilt and enlarged. The French wharf was quite out of repair, having been partially dismantled to provide gun platforms. It required extensive repairs before it could service 60 and 70-gun ships. Furthermore, since skilled workmen were in short supply at the fortress, he asked that "proper persons" be sent to do the work by the Navy Board. In addition, the garrison needed more storehouses, which he suggested could be purchased in New England, as well as a new building to serve as a hospital. [9] 

Knowles did not appear to have any complaints about Bastide's efforts as the principal engineer at Louisbourg, but Shirley and Pepperrell questioned his competence. It is not clear precisely what were their complaints; however, in November, 1745, Pepperrell had written to Newcastle expressing  his hope that the promised engineers from England would soon arrive at Louisbourg, for he did not believe Bastide "equal to the Care of the Works of this important Fortress." [10] Shirley, who was at Louisbourg at this time, obviously conferred with Pepperrell concerning Bastide's competence, and wrote to the Duke: 

I should not trouble your Grace with such particulars, or go so far beyond my line in the Business of an Engineer, if I was not exceedingly dissatisfy'd at the present Management of the repairs of the Works, the ruinous Condition of 'em, and the Waste of Money and Time in doing some things not very necessary and others in an ineffectual manner; and I think it my Duty to observe to your Grace that the chief Direction of these Works should be under the ablest Engineer, which can be spar'd.... [11]

Reports of Bastide's alleged incompetence circulated in New England, much to the engineer's chagrin. He wrote to a friend in New England, probably the prominent Boston merchant, Thomas Hancock: 

Mr. Knowles has Shewn me a great deal of Regard and in his Letters to the Duke of Newcastle has done me ye Honour to Say he found my Reports Plans & designs ... Just and Such as he had framed to himself before he had seen those Reports to which he Intirely agreed, as he has done to Every Thing I had proposed, and Even (before ye New Engld. councill) preferred my design of a Barrack Building to his own, I don't Say mine was better but it proves a Piece of Complaisance very opposite to ye false Report Spread at Boston that he pulled down what I had Erected. [12]

Bastide concluded his comment by stating that both Knowles and Warren contradicted the stories of his alleged ineptitude. However, when Bastide applied for permission to return home to England in the spring of 1747, Shirley took the opportunity to support a request by Knowles to be given the duties of engineer at Louisbourg. [13] 

Knowles' application to Newcastle for the engineer's position appears to have derived from financial difficulties which he suggested arose because "so Extravagantly dear is every thing at Louisbourg He probably wished to supplement his income as governor at Louisbourg and commodore in the Royal Navy with that of the chief engineer at the fortress. He observed to Newcastle that "as to my own Sallary permit me to assure Your Grace double that and my Pay as Commodore too will not defray my Expences...." However, this was not the basis on which Knowles applied for the engineer's post. Rather, he pointed to his experience as an engineer at Cartagena and mentioned that he had once been on the establishment in such a capacity. Nevertheless, his plea of inadequate recompense was followed immediately in the letter by his request to succeed Bastide, no doubt to make it as easy as possible for Newcastle to draw the conclusion which would at once help solve Knowles' financial problems and supply an engineer for the fortress at a minimum cost to the exchequer. [14] However, neither Knowles nor Shirley was to have his wish fulfilled, for Bastide remained as chief engineer at Louisbourg until the end of the occupation period. [15]

Rather than blame Bastide for any deficiencies in the repair of the fortifications, Knowles reported to Newcastle that, 

unless the Climate could be changed it is impossible to make works durable, the Frosts begin to cease towards the middle of May which are succeeded by Foggs, these last till the end of July or beginning of August with the Intermission perhaps of one or two fair days in a Fortnight towards the close of September or early in October the Frosts sett in again & they continue with frequent Snow till May or often the beginning of June, so that allowing the Fortifications to be repaired with the best of Materials and in the most Workmanlike manner -Your Grace will observe that they have scarce two months in the year for the Cement to dry in, which is impossible for it to do, and therefore it is certain after the Nation has been at the Expence of perhaps more than a billion of Money we should have to go on again with repairing where we begun at first as it will take upwards of twenty years to do it in and consequently the Works be rotten and tumbling down before that time, as they are now. [16] 

Knowles had been quite enthusiastic initially about the prospects and potent1alities of Louisbourg, but now he claimed to be embarrassed by his earlier ebullience and apologized, for "Zeal is apt to run into Enthusiasm...." [17] 

Having had time to study the fortress at first hand, Knowles stated that no longer could he believe it was practicable for the harbour to be the "general Rendezvous for all the West India and American Trade .... in Order to be Convoy'd home." He based his opinion on his assessment of the climatic conditions at Louisbourg. The first West Indies fleet sailed in June, wrote Knowles,

[which] is the Height of the Fogg Season, and they may be off the Port a Fortnight or three weeks and not have an opportunity of getting in, all this Time they are exposed to the dangers of Winds, Rocks, & Sands (which no Merchant will hazard his Goods amongst in Foggy Weather, nor any prudent. Marriner his Ship) and the Consequence would be every Year One half of the Fleet would be lost. There has been no less than three Sail of small Vessels, who are used to venture close in Shore lost already this month [July]. [18] 

The second West Indies fleet usually sailed in August, Knowles observed, as did most of the New England, Carolina and Virginia trade. At this time, Louisbourg was plagued by strong northwesterly winds and from October to April, at least, "the Sea is covered with Islands of Ice that nothing can approach this Place." [19] Furthermore, the consequence of the short season for safe navigation would be that too few ships could careen at Louisbourg to warrant the construction of a major and expensive careening facility. Nor did the governor accept the argument that Louisbourg's isolation would drastically reduce ship desertions: "our experience shows us the Contrary, for the New England Sloops that come here with Rum Secretly carry them away. . . . [20]

Knowles outlined to Newcastle what he had already reported to Corbett: that Louisbourg was not a good centre for the fishery, nor was there suitable land for agriculture in the vicinity of the fortress. Consequently, settlers would probably not be attracted by the fishery even from New England, where the "people ... were so exceeding fond of it (and who have had such vast promises and encouragement made them by both Mr. Warren and myself) [and who] should have flocked here in Numbers to have followed that advantageous trade, but", he continued, repeating a comment he had made in June, "I rather believe your Grace will be surprised when I tell you, that there is but two Fishermen Settled here...." [21] Continuing his indictment of Louisbourg to Newcastle, Knowles wrote:

The Furr Trade and bringing all the Indians into our Interest is another Benefit that is to arise from this Important Conquest, with many more great and National Advantages (full as chimerical) but Your Grace who knows the Constitution of the People of England is best sensible how patiently they would await two Centurys (as the French have done) to accomplish such a Scheme, and what a nine Days wonder every new thing is with them: and give me leave to assure your Grace nothing ever was more so than this place, but I doubt not of its being difficult to make many believe so: Indeed the French Court was almost as much deceived in regard to its Strength, which I apprehend they have concluded from the vast Sums of Money said to have been laid out upon the Fortifications ..... [22]

Knowles argued that while few or no advantages would accrue from the development of the fortress, the expenditures required to restore and maintain Louisbourg would be enormous: "I am sure the Expenses of this Garrison cannot be supported out of the Annual Supply, without a particular Grant by Parliament...." [23] As an example of the extraordinary costs incumbent on the development of the fortress, Knowles cited the "Immoderate Expense" [24] of coal and firewood, which he estimated would run to £6,000 sterling per annum. He and Bastide further suggested it would cost five to six hundred thousand pounds to renew and refinish the town and fortifications. This task, which would necessarily-have to be undertaken, would require no less than 20 years because of the climate. [25] These and other expenses, Knowles wrote, "frighten me to think of...." His misgivings about any substantial development of Louisbourg led him to inform Newcastle that he would "not proceed to do anything, but lodging the Officers and Men, patching up the Breach [at the West Gate] & laying in some fewel till I receive your Grace's particular and positive Instructions what to do; which shall always be my guide." [26]

However much Knowles wanted to do as little as possible to repair Louisbourg, the arrival on July 19 of an express from Admiral Martin warning that d'Anville's fleet was probably steering in the general direction of Cape Breton Island forced the governor, with Admiral Townsend's support, to order the "Joining [of] the glacis where it was unfinished & the carrying on Several other Works Necessary for the immediate Defence of the place...." [27] Apart from this activity, Knowles confined his efforts to repair the fortress to "Putting the Place in the best posture of Defence Temporary Expedients will allow...." These activities included the clearing of rubble from a breach in the Citadel bastion, "making a retired Battery with Timber filled with Earth for five Guns behind the Old Work, and Erecting a Cavalier for Six Guns in the Bastion at the West Gate...." [28] The completing of the glacis and counterscarp was abandoned because of the great expense and labour involved. To protect the men and officers from the coming winter, Knowles was compelled to continue gathering fuel, repairing buildings and erecting wooden barracks prefabricated in New England. He reported to Newcastle again in late September that he would not go beyond these efforts until he received specific instructions. [29]

Despite his requests for definite instructions, Knowles received no directions from the British ministry, which was quite distracted by events in Europe, preparations for the Canada Expedition, and by reports of the departure of d'Anville's fleet. Newcastle probably would have sent instructions via St. Clair and Lestock, but as we have seen, this expedition was not dispatched to America in 1746.

Knowles was not in an enviable position. He had thoroughly condemned Louisbourg in the full knowledge of the optimistic and persuasive proposals for developing the island submitted by Warren and Shirley, two men whose opinions he knew were respected and sought by Newcastle. He probably knew before he left England late in April that preparations for the Canada Expedition were underway. The arrival of Martin's express alerting him that d'Anville had slipped the blockade possibly would have convinced him that St. Clair was under orders to leave England as soon as possible. Knowles was uneasy about how Newcastle would react to his reports against Louisbourg, especially since there were so many indications that the ministry favoured Warren's and Shirley's assessment of Louisbourg's potential as an important addition to the colonial system. The lack of instructions from England was most disquieting to this ambitious and pessimistic man responsible for governing a particularly isolated fortress which he thoroughly detested, and which was surrounded by territory not securely under British control. Although Knowles was no coward, and despite being covered by Admiral Townsend's squadron stationed at Louisbourg, [30] he was also understandably daunted by the prospect of defending a ruinous and ill-equipped fortress against d'Anville's powerful fleet carrying a large number of regular French troops, who were then regarded as the best fighting men in Europe. [31]

The summer passed by slowly without any sign of the anticipated onslaught by d'Anville's forces. Each passing day decreased the likelihood of the French being able to mount a successful attack on the fortress before the winter weather ended the combat. On September 29 or 30, Knowles received "the sudden news ... of the Arrival of the Duke D'Anville upon the Coast of Accadia ...." [32] Knowles was now confident the fortress was secure "whilst the Squadron continues here and we can keep the Enemys Ships out of the Harbour ...." [33] Townsend and Knowles realised that after the passage from France, d'Anville's ships and men would have to be refreshed before moving against Louisbourg, by which time it might be too late in the season for the attack. [34]  Knowles wrote to Newcastle:

Annapolis Royal may fall, but then I think unless their Fleet winters there and a superior Squadron to ours continue in these Seas we may without great difficulty with the New England and some Troops from hence not only retake Annapolis but drive all the French out of Accadia which is a most fertile Country and abounds with Timber and Masts beyond any other part of our colonys but this is submitted to Your Graces consideration. [35]

In fact, d'Anville's ill-starred forces were to present even less than the slight problem Knowles expected from them in 1746. So disastrously shattered was d'Anville's fleet after a terrible passage of two and. a half months that even an attack on feeble Annapolis Royal became a critical decision. Townsend did not send his ships against d'Anville because he did not know the condition of the French force, which was considerably more powerful than the British squadron at Louisbourg. [36]

D'Anville's expedition was plagued by difficulties from the start. The fleet left France more than a month later than Maurepas had planned, having been delayed by the problems of preparing so large an expedition and by adverse winds. The only substantial piece of good fortune was the successful evasion of Martin's squadron. D'Anville's fleet totalled more than 50 vessels, including ten ships-of-the-line, a number of frigates and corvettes, two fireships, a hospital ship, 15 troop transports and 19 provision vessels. In addition, there were three frigates and 18 merchantmen destined for Canada and Louisiana which sailed part of the way with the fleet for protection. Four powerful warships recently sent to the West Indies under the Marquis de Conflans were scheduled to join d'Anville at Chebucto harbour. However, Conflans missed d'Anville in late September after encountering a British squadron which delayed his passage. After spending some days searching for the French expedition, the increasingly foul weather forced him to turn for France. On board d'Anville's ships were 3,339 soldiers and 3,666 sailors. The French ministry also hoped about 1,600 Canadians and Indians under the indomitable Captain Roch de Ramezay would augment d'Anville's forces before the attack on Annapolis Royal or Louisbourg. [37]

In the haste to dispatch d'Anville's expedition, an insufficient quantity of water was taken aboard, and when the passage was protracted by heavy winds and occasional calms, water had to be strictly rationed. As the duration of the voyage increased to more than twice the normal period for passage, scurvy spread at an alarming rate through the overcrowded ships. Much of the provisions were lost at sea or began to spoil so that starvation threatened some of the ships of the battered fleet. On September 13, when the ships were near dreaded Sable Island, a violent gale scattered the fleet and disabled many, vessels. [38] 

On September 20, d'Anville's flagship the Northumberland limped into Chebucto harbour. The Duke found but a handful of his fleet. Six days later, during which period many more of the sorely tried ships straggled into the harbour, d'Anville, himself sick with scurvy, died of a stroke. The Duke's death was a terrible blow to the wretched forces, members of which were dying in appalling numbers. It was whispered that the Admiral had taken poison to end his troubles. Vice Admiral d'Estournelles, overcome by despair and unable to accept the enormous responsibility of commanding the disastrous expedition, ran a sword through his body. Remarkably, d'Estournelles survived the wound, but the command devolved upon Pierre-Jacques Taffanel, Marquis de la Jonquière, who had been sent with the fleet to replace the aging Beauharnois as governor of Canada. [39]

By the end of the first week in October, 587 men were dead, 1,489 were too sick for duty, and 782 were recuperating. Yet the resolute la Jonquière still hoped to salvage some of the objectives of the expedition. A Council of War determined to attack Annapolis Royal despite having received information from an Acadian that the garrison had been reinforced by 1,200 men. In fact, Shirley had sent but three companies totalling about 250 men. On October 24, the crippled fleet left Chebucto for Annapolis Royal, piloted by some Acadians. Apparently there now remained only about 1,000 men of the French troops fit to fight. [40]

Misfortune continued to dog the expedition. A violent storm dispersed the ships soon after the departure, and then a thick fog descended making it extremely perilous to continue the voyage in the coastal waters. On October 27, the squadron having reassembled, la Jonquière discussed the situation with his senior officers who pressed to return to France with what remained of the expedition forces. La Jonquière agreed, and the fleet turned for home. The return voyage was horrible as more violent storms were encountered, and weakened men died in large numbers on already undermanned ships. [41]

Before quitting the American coast, la Jonquière sent word to de Ramezay that the expedition was over. Acting on instructions from Maurepas, Governor Beauharnois had sent de Ramezay in June with 700 men to join d'Anville. On September 22, having delayed acting for as long as he dared on Beauharnois' instructions to return to the St. Lawrence valley issued because of rumours of a pending attack on Canada, de Ramezay learned that d'Anville had finally arrived at Chebucto. De Ramezay immediately proceeded to besiege Annapolis Royal until November 3 when he learned that la Jonquière had abandoned the expedition. De Ramezay lifted the siege, and since it was too late to return to Canada for any useful purpose, he retired to winter at Beaubassin. [42]

Meanwhile, Shirley realised that there was little hope that St. Clair's forces would arrive in time for an attack on Canada in 1746. He wrote to Newcastle on September 2 proposing that the American levies for the Canada Expedition be used against Fort St. Frédéric before the end of the year. [43] Beauharnois had recently revived the policies of former governors of New France of forestalling threatened invasions by dispatching raids against English colonial frontier settlements. He strengthened a number of posts and forts, including Fort St. Frédéric, and utilized Indians in the raids. The return to the savage methods of Indian warfare terrified and outraged the inhabitants of the English colonies, especially since they had not yet secured the support of the Iroquois, save for the Mohawks. [44] Shirley hoped to reduce the frontier menace by capturing Fort St. Frédéric, known to him as Crown Point. He argued that such initiative would impress the neutral Iroquois, bringing them into the British fold. On the other hand, he feared that if the colonies did not make some substantial move against the French, the Six Nations might abandon entirely their attachment to the British interest, perhaps even turn on the New England colonies. Shirley also maintained that a successful expedition against Crown Point would facilitate the Canada Expedition should it be resumed in 1747. [45]

The arrival of d'Anville's fleet off the coast of Nova Scotia threw many colonials into such a state of panic that the forces which Shirley had hoped to use for a Crown Point expedition were retained in the various colonies in case the French moved southward. Shirley doubted that d'Anville would hazard an attack on any of the colonies south of Nova Scotia, but as he noted to Newcastle, "some of the Inhabitants of this Town [Boston] have such strong Expectations of it, that they have begun to remove their most valuable Effects into the Country.... " [46] While Shirley considered the defense of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island more important than the expedition against Crown Point, he expressed his hope to the Massachusetts General Court that the levies raised in the colonies for the Canada Expedition might provide for both the defence of Nova Scotia and the reduction of Crown Point. [47] After the remnants of the French fleet had left Nova Scotia, Shirlely renewed his efforts to win the support of other colonial governments for an attack on Crown Point. His exertions to obtain this colonial cooperation were in vain, and although he continued to promote the expedition as a means of ending the crisis on the frontiers, the scheme was finally abandoned in 1748 when reports from Europe indicated peace was near. [48]

Governor Knowles attempted to keep d'Anville's forces under surveillance while they were at Chebucto. He sent a Captain Hugh Scott of Fuller's regiment at Louisbourg to d'Anville under a flag of truce on the pretext of exchanging prisoners. Scott's true objective was to discover as much as possible about the plans and strength of d'Anville's forces; however, Knowles also had the Captain deliver a letter protesting the "Barbarous Crueltys" allegedly committed by the inhabitants of Ile-St-Jean and some Indians "in violation of the Capitulation granted them" against a detachment of troops sent there by Knowles earlier in the year. [49] This was a reference to an incident which occurred in July when de Rainezay was at Baye Verte with his Canadian militiamen and Indians awaiting the arrival of d'Anville's expedition. When de Ramezay, received reports that two British men-of-war were at Port La Joye, Ile St-Jean, he dispatched some Micmacs with seven or eight of his militiamen to harass the English. The leader of these raiders, the Sieur de Montesson, returned to de Ramezay late in July and reported having surprised an English force on the banks of the Northeast River, killing and capturing between thirty and forty men. Montesson also carried away two of the hostages Knowles had demanded to guarantee the good behaviour of the French inhabitants of Ile-St-Jean under the "Articles of Indulgence" signed in mid-June. [50]

La Jonquière recognised the real intentions behind Knowles' rather transparent ploy of sending Scott to Chebucto. The French resolved in council not to release Scott immediately since he "might be able to give an Account of their Strength, & by some means might possibly find out what their Designs were." [51] Scott, who had arrived at Chebucto on October 22, was well treated by the French, but he was not permitted to leave until October 27, when the crippled fleet finally turned for France. He was given a number of English prisoners in exchange for the French he had delivered to Chebucto, and he sailed for Boston where he arrived on November 3. [52]

When Knowles finally received Scott's report, he elatedly wrote to Newcastle on November 19 that the French fleet, which was in a "Miserable distress'd Condition", had left for France. "I pray God", wrote Knowles, "grant our Western Cruizers may meet with them & compleat their Destruction." [53] Although Admiral George Anson attempted to intercept the pitiful remains of d'Anville's fleet, most of the ships avoided the British squadron, straggling into Rochefort during the last weeks of December. [54] This terminated one of the most disastrous episodes of French arms during the entire war. [55] Francis Parkman quoted an estimate that nearly half the French navy had been committed to the expedition, [56] yet the whole effort came to nothing beyond costing France dearly in terms of men, ships and treasure. J.S. McLennan aptly wrote of the expedition: "One-tenth of the forces destined by a mortified minister [Maurepas] to rescue Louisbourg and deliver a counterstroke, which might restore in America the prestige of French arms, would have saved the place from capture." [57]

Knowles was becoming increasingly convinced of the futility of developing and maintaining the fortress as a great British installation, but he feared that the enormous effort by France to regain Louisbourg would feed public arguments for the importance of this "bewitching Idol" , creating great problems for Newcastle. Although d'Anville's expedition collapsed, Knowles wrote to the Duke, "That Fleet shew'd us with what Ease they can possess themselves of Accadia and the Province of Nova Scotia... [unless] we keep a superior Force here by Sea...." Hinting at the desirability of demolishing the fortress, Knowles claimed that the place was far less important to a strong maritime power such as Britain than to France, which was far weaker at sea. He believed France would ever have a mind to regain the fortress, and "if by that designed Expedition they should only prevent our demolishing it, the End of that Armament will be sufficiently answered to them." [58] 

Although Louisbourg was extremely important to France, Knowles claimed this was not sufficient reason for Britain to maintain the fortress. He wrote to Newcastle:

Neither the Coast of Accadia or any of the Harbours, in Newfoundland (except St. John's & Placentia) are fortify'd (and those but triflingly) and yett we continue Masters of them, and whatever Nation sends the Strongest Fleet into these Seas will always be masters of the Cod fishery, whether there be a Louisbourg or not. [59]

Furthermore, even if Louisbourg were maintained by Britain, it would still be necessary to keep a fleet in the neighbouring waters, if only to protect the fishery. The expense of the fortress would be redundant so far as British interests in the area were concerned, and he suggested that a decision now not to develop the installation would forestall the otherwise inevitable public furore in England which would arise over the endless expenditures necessary to operate the stronghold. [60] Holding these opinions, and fearing for his personal fortune and career, Knowles anxiously awaited instructions from England. Toward the end of November, when it was increasingly unlikely that any vessels with instructions would brave the weather to make Louisbourg, the governor revealed his desperation in a letter he sent to Governor Clinton of New York:

Sure never was a place neglected like this, no paymaster, nor Instructions to the Contractors Agent, nor no money or Cloathing; that I am forced to be every thing myself, that I shall involve myself Accounts, & difficulties, if it happens they [the British ministry] don't like every thing I do.... [61]

While Knowles' agitation increased, the ministry continued to be incapable of formulating a coherent policy for the disposition of Louisbourg. [62] The usefulness of the fortress to England, at least in the view of Newcastle and some of his associates such as Bedford, fluctuated with new developments on the military and diplomatic fronts, as well as with the shifting attitudes and alliances of important figures in the ministry. Indeed, this lack of a decisive policy for Cape Breton simply reflected the overall character of the Pelham ministry.

In the spring of 1747, the youthful and inexperienced Earl of Sandwich, [63] who had been named plenipotentiary to the Breda peace conferences in July, 1746, wrote privately to Newcastle warning that France appeared to be making real progress in efforts to disrupt the connection between the Dutch Republic and England by offering to withdraw completely from their threatening position in the Low Countries, by promising to restore the Dutch barrier with some sort of mutual guarantee for a permanent neutrality in the Austrian Netherlands, and by stressing England's refusal to part with Cape Breton as a major stumbling block to peace. However, Sandwich maintained that peace on the French terms would be "ruinous and destructive to England and the House of Austria as they must be built upon the cession of Louisbourg and an Establishment in Italy [at Austrian expense] for the Infant Don Philip [of Spain]." [64]

William Pitt was extremely disturbed by Sandwich's mission, fearing that France would be able to wring too many concessions out of England, and in particular that France would regain Cape Breton Island. [65] Late in August, 1746, while he still entertained high hopes for the Canada Expedition, he wrote to Pelham:

I shou'd be as much ashamed as any man in England of Quixotism or, to use a stronger term, of Granvillism; but I confess frankly were I to decide that great question, I would never restore Cape Breton, to purchase a Barrier undefensible, or, the same thin, in effect, undefended, while any resource remained. Nay I will go further; I wou'd upon no foundation whatsoever, after the outrage we have received at home from France, and at this Point of time open a Treaty with her, which must naturally damp and kill the activity and vigour of three good. months of Campaigne, (at present vastly in your favour. That France, above all Nations, shou'd be push'd when the Tide of her Success is turned, is a musick I understand to have been always held by the ablest men in Europe who have had anything to do with her in the field.... [66]

Pitt would have been somewhat reassured had he known that Newcastle was maintaining a secret correspondence with Sandwich which offered guidance often in direct conflict with instructions from the Earl's official superior, Harrington, and his successor Chesterfield, both of whom were proponents of peace. [67]

Pitt argued that England's position at any peace conference would be enhanced if the ministry continued to press the war without relaxation. He told Pelham that he was most disappointed that St. Clair's expedition had been laid aside, but that he earnestly hoped it might still sail because the ominous presence of the forces in America would discourage France from making excessive demands in peace negotiations, which England might otherwise feel compelled to accept. Furthermore, he anticipated the allied successes in Italy would continue, perhaps forcing France to divert troops from Flanders to the Italian theatre of war. This might give England superiority in Flanders, but even if this did not occur, he urged Pelham to support "an action there, because you have so much more to win than to lose by a battle, a victory on our side may give us everything, Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges and Brussels .... Victory to France, a Town more or less to her; which car, make no great difference when things come to be wound up in a Peace." [68] Obviously suspicious that Cape Breton would be surrendered, Pitt concluded his letter on a note which troubled Pelham, and probably would have terrified Newcastle with his timid sensitivity to public opinion and desire to maintain the fabric of the ministry:

the first thing I have at heart is that no Treaty may proceed upon a foundation I can not think at present right: the next is, that the conditions may be such as will justify the measure I am combatting, and soften most national opposition and resentment that I believe will rise against it. I wish we may not see the word Cape Breton carry the ensuing general elections .... [69]

Pitt and Newcastle agreed that one of the most advantageous avenues to pursue in the war was to attempt to detach Spain from her alliance with France. Such an accomplishment might in one stroke assure the adherence of Holland to the British interest and compel France to seek peace earnestly, but with a considerably weakened bargaining position. Pitt suggested to Pelham that while France was England's natural enemy "by System and Interest", Spain "is our Enemy by accident only; she may be our friend: her Interest leads her to be so...." Pitt thought that certain concessions, unspecified but not including trade and commerce, might secure at least Spanish neutrality. [70] While the war between England and Spain had been occasioned chiefly by trade disagreements, principally the asiento, [71] ensuing entanglements brought about by the continental war and the death in July, 1746, of Elizabeth Farnese's husband, Philip V, injected new elements on which an Anglo-Spanish agreement might be based while leaving thet I rade question largely unresolved. [72] By the spring of 1747, Newcastle appeared to be ready to agree to the recession of the asiento, which had only four years left to run by 1739, if Spain would grant a free port and negotiate some financial compensation for the South Sea Company which held the monopoly. However, he wanted other areas of dispute settled before opening discussions on trade. [73]

Spain sought the security of the Kingdom of Naples, ruled by Don Carlos, son of Philip V, from attack by Austria, while Maria Theresa hoped to extend her successes in Italy by taking the kingdom. Newcastle was prepared to take a firm stand with Austria to restrain such an advance. The Duke thought Austria and Sardinia might accept, though reluctantly, Corsica as a modest establishment for Don Philip of Spain. Newcastle claimed that the Spanish Queen had hinted Corsica might indeed be acceptable. Sandwich, who was negotiating with Spanish representatives at Breda in the Spring of 1747, greatly feared an imminent Dutch defection. He concluded that the Spanish demand for Gibraltar was the key to an agreement with Spain. He pressed Newcastle to support the cession of Gibraltar, arguing that it would override most other Spanish considerations and facilitate the much desired detachment of that country from France, and probably preserve Cape Breton Island for England in subsequent peace negotiations. [74]

Newcastle remained unmoved by Sandwich's earnest remonstrances. The surrender of Gibraltar would be most unpopular in England. Furthermore, the Duke had hopes, reinforced. by a report from the Sardinian envoy at The Hague, that Spain might come to terms without demanding the unconditional cession of the strategic British stronghold. [75] Even before receiving the information from the Sardinian envoy, the Duke had obstinately refused to countenance Sandwich's suggestion. He wrote to the Earl on March 17, 1746, that while the relinquishing of Gibraltar might facilitate Spanish neutrality, there was no guarantee that such an accomplishment would win Dutch loyalty or British retention of Cape Breton Island. Newcastle concluded his letter with a clear enunciation of his position. He hoped the cession of Louisbourg would be avoided, but it could not be considered an equivalent for Gibraltar in any case; some arrangement for Don Philip might yet be possible which would contribute to the detachment of Spain from France; the neutrality of the Low Countries, which he believed would disrupt the necessary alliance between Holland, Austria and England, should never be accepted by the British government. Newcastle was a firm adherent to the "old system" of alliance in the belief that England could contain the might and ambitions of France only with the active assistance of Holland and Austria. He maintained that this alliance was based on a mutual interest of the allies in the integrity of the Austrian Netherlands and that the friendship between these three powers had to be preserved in any peace settlement. [76] Newcastle would try almost any expedient in the war, but the alliance was of paramount importance.

In May, 1747, there occurred an event which Newcastle, and most members of the British ministry, thought would materially assist the allied cause in Europe. A month earlier, the French government declared that while it had no intention of breaking with the Dutch Republic, it could no longer respect a neutrality under which the troops of France's enemies were assisted and sheltered. A French army entered Dutch Flanders without much difficulty and the Republic seemed to lie at France's mercy. The invasion provoked a series of anti-French popular uprisings in Holland. The Dutch provinces, seeking a saviour for the state, overthrew the ruling Republican party by electing as captain-general, admiral of the Union and stadtholder, the bellicose Prince of Orange, William IV, who was also George II's son-in-law. Under these desperate circumstances, a separate Dutch agreement with France was out of the question, at least temporarily. In fact, most members of the British ministry anticipated that the new unity expressed by the Dutch provinces in support of the Prince of Orange would result in a more substantial Dutch commitment to England in the war. However, the burger controlled Republican party, which had directed Dutch policy for nearly 50 years, remained entrenched in most of the important offices in the Netherlands. This severely limited the authority of the Prince, who neither dared nor wished to promote policies which would appear to subordinate Dutch interests to British direction of the war. Furthermore, the Republic was nearing financial exhaustion. Following a transitory display of vigour and closer cooperation with England, and after failing to obtain a loan in London, the Dutch concluded they were unable to support the cost of the war and never declared open hostility with France. [77]

Prior to these developments in the Netherlands, Chesterfield had directed Sandwich not to discuss the issue of Cape Breton Island-with France until the direction of the war on the Continent and in Italy was clearer to the British ministry. Sandwich, who continued his secret correspondence with Newcastle as he had done while under Harrington's supervision, was directed to await additional instructions from England. [78] Within a few months of the Orangist victory in the Netherlands, and following a serious allied defeat at Lafeld, it became increasingly obvious that the Dutch remained reluctant to commit themselves wholeheartedly to the conflict. Furthermore, the Dutch considered the British refusal to discuss the restoration of Louisbourg to France presented a selfish and reprehensible obstruction to a peace settlement. [79]

In July, France made an unexpected direct approach to England for what amounted to a separate peace settlement between the two countries based essentially on a mutual restoration of conquests. The overture appealed to most members of the ministry, but Newcastle, fearing that such separate negotiations would irreparably alienate Holland and Austria, courageously opposed the scheme. Newcastle's opposition, which was bitterly contended in the ministry, delayed any really positive reaction from England. In August, the French government retreated from its proposal, claiming it could not desert its own allies. However, by this time, the direction of the war was becoming apparent to the entire British ministry as the campaigns in Italy failed and negotiations with Spain were unproductive. Nevertheless, probably because of Newcastle's influence, the ministry officially still refused to part with Cape Breton Island. in mid-August, Chesterfield informed Sandwich that the King, having engaged in a long and expensive war, had reason to expect the retention of Louisbourg. [80] The Earl was also notified that the government was seriously considering the demolition of the fortress and "particularly, wither it is his Majesty's intention to restore that possession to France, in case a peace should be impracticable without it." [81] The peace faction was gaining the upper hand, and the outcome of the Canada Expedition in 1747 contributed to this development.

After the unproductive attack on L'Orient in September, 1746, the land forces allotted to the Canada Expedition were sent to Ireland where they were to be maintained in readiness for the resumption of the expedition in the spring of 1747. Since it was rumoured the French were planning an invasion of England to avenge the attack on L'Orient, the Cabinet decided in November to order St. Clair's troops back to England, apparently at the insistence of King George. Bedford and Pitt objected to this strategy as they suspected it would entail the abandonment of the Canada Expedition, despite Newcastle's assurances that such was not necessarily the case. [82]

On January 23, 1747, the Privy Council met to discuss the Canada Expedition and invited Warren, who had recently arrived in England, to be examined at the meeting. The admiral, referring to the submission forwarded by himself and Shirley in October, 1746, stated that a substantially greater force than that provided for the expedition would be required "to attempt the Reduction of Quebec, & Canada, with any Probability of Success...." Furthermore, Warren doubted that the necessary forces and provisions required from the colonies could be raised in time for a campaign in 1747. [83] Warren's arguments convinced the Cabinet to abandon the expedition. [84]. Newcastle recounted some details of the Cabinet meeting to Sandwich:

the D. of Bedford & I were almost alone [in supporting the Canada Expedition], but what was worst of all, Admiral Warrens answers hurt, as the Matter was in [?] dispute, & upon His positive opinion, the Duke of Bedford & I were forced to lay aside the Thoughts of sending St. Clairs Expedition, when it was represented to be so Insufficient by the Principal Officer, Who was to execute it, and Who must be supposed to know better than Any Body, We could consult here. [85]

The official abandonment of the expedition encouraged some of the most ardent ministerial advocates for the retention of Louisbourg to reconsider their stand on the issue, and indeed on the conduct of the war itself. However, Newcastle claimed he was not yet convinced that Louisbourg should be surrendered. He wrote to Sandwich on March 17, 1747: 

Some of your best Friends [i.e. Bedford], and formerly the most zealous advocates for Cap Breton, begin to think, that Cap Breton alone, without Quebec, & Canada, will be such an immense Expense, and of so little use, that the best we could do with it, would be to purchase better Conditions of Peace; But I own, I am not yet of that Opinion. [86] 

Sandwich agreed with Newcastle, replying in one of his private letters to the Duke that while Cape Breton was deficient without Canada, the emphasis the French placed on regaining it suggested the importance of the place. Furthermore, wrote Sandwich: 

the Generality of our Nation think they see the value of it on their side, and are ready to continue the war for the defence of it, or to express their rage and resentment in the strongest terms if it is given up. All opposition in Parliament [?] seems to be attentive to that point, their writings, as well as the language of their leaders from the first to the last, sufficiently show that it is there they intend to form their attack, because it us upon that question that they are sure of having the People upon their Side. [87]

Indeed, Parliament had voted a special credit of £500,000 for the war effort, including as an integral part the Canada Expedition. [88] Nevertheless, Newcastle's resolution began to waver on the whole Cape Breton issue as the allied military efforts failed in Italy and on the Continent, and diplomacy failed to detach Spain from France or to secure a greater Dutch commitment to the war.

Not until June 10, 1747, did Newcastle prepare a letter for Governor Shirley informing him that the Canada Expedition had been abandoned and that the American levies should be dismissed. Newcastle explained that it had been considered unwise to give any directions to him until it was decided what was to be done in North America this year. He wrote:

and .... That has varied often, and been necessarily changed, according to the Preparations Carrying on by the French in Europe; and the Necessity there was to keep a superior Force here, to watch these preparations ... [89]

The governor was ordered to dismiss immediately the American levies raised for the expedition: "The Manner of Discharging them, The Satisfaction for their Time, &c., must be left to Commodore Knowles and yourself. The King however is persuaded, you will do it, as cheap as possible."[90] This deplorably late notification dashed Shirley's hopes for a major attack on the French in North America. The historian A.H. Buffinton characterized the Canada Expedition as an entirely undistinguished episode:

its whole course was determined by political considerations. The cost was borne by the British taxpayer, who paid the bills, by the British troops who were confined for weeks at a time in narrow and unwholesome quarters on transports, and by the colonial levies who sickened and died in camp while the politicians debated what to do. From the expedition no one gained glory, neither Bedford who planned it, nor his colleagues who gave their official consent, nor the officers who commanded it. If anyone profited, it was Newcastle, who at this time cemented his alliance with Bedford and Pitt and was thereby enabled to establish his political ascendancy. [91] 

However, the expedition had other repercussions. 

While it is unclear whether Pitt actually assisted Bedford in drawing up the scheme for attacking Canada, [92] he actively supported the concept of the expedition, especially since it increased the emphasis on the maritime war which he favoured. Notwithstanding the eventual course of the expedition, it had been promoted in particular to increase the trade of British merchants, to bring security to British colonies in America and to their trade, and to weaken France, Britain's greatest commercial rival -- all of which would augment Great Britain's wealth, power, prestige and authority in Europe. The experience and knowledge Pitt gained from this contact with North American affairs contributed in no small way to the development of the strategy he used in the Seven Years' War to defeat France, the country which Pitt believed was "chiefly if not solely to be dreaded as a maritime and commercial power. " [93]

While the acquisition of Cape Breton Island and the planning of the Canada Expedition may not have significantly effected Britain's administration of her North American colonies, the changing ministerial posture toward these events certainly exemplified England's governmental attitude wherein national considerations outweighed those of the colonies. Furthermore, these two events had a considerable impact on Shirley, the most influential governor in North America, and one of the few colonial officials who possessed a real grasp of imperial problems on a grand scale. The capture of the fortress added enormously to Shirley's prestige and reputation everywhere, but the collapse of the Canada Expedition seriously undermined his influence and authority. As William Wood, a modern biographer of the governor, wrote:

His reputation as a potent influence with the ministry was clouded. His suggestions to other colonial governments would for the future be regarded less as forecasts of the probable policy of the government in England. Particularly, it tended to reduce the probability that he could lead the colonies into the union he was seeking for military purposes. [94] 

Had the home government realised the full potential of Shirley's efforts to obtain a military union of the colonies by giving him more substantial support, he might have succeeded in developing a viable scheme of intercolonial cooperation, at least in time of war. As it happened, the ministry contributed to the erosion of Shirley's influence in his own province and with the other colonies by its failure to keep him well-informed of developments in the project to take Canada, during which time the costs of maintaining the colonial levies mounted, and by countenancing violations of their specific instructions to the governor and officials of other colonies in the matter of demobilizing and paying the provincials recruited for the Canada Expedition.

The ministry gave Shirley, in conjunction with Knowles, the responsibility of scrutinizing and directing the accounts of the various colonies required by the Treasury to determine reimbursements for Canada Expedition expenses. Newcastle wrote to Shirley stating that "as these American Troops have done little or no Service hithertoo, it is to be hoped, They will not expect to be paid in the manner They would have been, had They actually been employed on Service.... "[95] This attitude was unpopular with many of the men recruited and some of the colonial governments, especially because it seemed to be a violation of the terms of enlistment. It soon became obvious that Shirley lacked sufficient authority to discharge his responsibility when a number of the colonial governments attempted, with some success, to settle their accounts directly with the home government at higher rates of pay for the men than that recommended by the governor of Massachusetts. The acceptance by the ministry of such violations of their instructions to Shirley was acutely embarrassing to the governor, and exacerbated the ever-present jealous and hostile feelings between the colonies. [96]

The weakening of Shirley's position made him more vulnerable to attacks on his authority in Massachusetts by his political opponents, including such former supporters as Samuel Waldo, the wealthy merchant and land speculator who had been the brigadier-general in the Louisbourg expedition. Waldo, who had been designated as the leader of the Crown Point expedition which Shirley was promoting, sought to increase his personal fortune by, among other things, taking the pay of deceased soldiers and selling the returned firearms. Waldo refused to let Shirley see his records, insisting that he was personally responsible directly to the British Treasury. Despite efforts to conciliate Waldo, whose friends and relatives included such influential individuals as Pepperrell, Sparhawk, Governor Wentworth, and the agent for Massachusetts in London, Christopher Kilby, Governor Shirley finally resorted to a successful prosecution of Waldo, as he wrote, "for several Breaches of Trust, which he appears to me to have committed with respect  to the Crown, the Soldiers, and myself ...." [97] Waldo became one of the central members of vocal opposition to Shirley, which included many powerful figures in the province. Although the opposition to the governor was not broadly based in the general populace, his prestige was sufficiently damaged by the outcome of the abortive Canada Expedition that the average New Englander was likely to be less willing than ever to enlist in expeditions promoted by Shirley. [98]

Shirley sought office and influence rather than wealth, and although he increased his private fortune considerably through the opportunities presented by the war, he took less financial advantage of the situation than was possible. He was quite aware that much of his influence in the colonies depended on his reputation of being the governor whose opinion was sought most often by the British government concerning North American affairs, and who was privy to ministerial decisions. Consequently, outward manifestations of ministerial recognition and favour were important to the maintenance of his prestige and the trust of the common people. For example, when the ministry had announced the rewards for the success at Louisbourg he felt slighted, for while Warren received a flag and the governorship of Louisbourg, and Pepperrell a knighthood and the colonelcy of a regiment, Shirley obtained only a colonelcy. [99] He wrote to Newcastle concerning this matter late in 1745:

I hope from my Experience of your Grace's past goodness that whatever mark-of his Royal Favour his Majesty shall be graciously pleas'd to honour me with, it will be such as may not diminish the honour and Influence which I have hithertoo maintain'd in my own Government and his Majesty's other neighbouring Colonies by degrading my Services below those of Sr. Wm. Pepperrell's, which I am perswaded are not in the Estimation of the American Troops and Colonies, which have had an opportunity of knowing both upon the spot, inferior to Sr. William's or any other Gentleman's concern'd in the Expedition. [100]

Shirley applied to succeed the absentee octogenarian governor of Nova Scotia, Richard Phillips, and to have the colonelcy of the regiment stationed at Annapolis Royal upon the death of Phillips which was expected to occur soon. He pointed out to Newcastle that he had for the past years devoted so much of his attention to the preservation of Nova Scotia that for all intents and purposes, he actually administered the province, especially since Mascarene repeatedly sought his advice on all important matters. Furthermore, Shirley claimed he was in the best position, as the resident governor of Massachusetts, to ensure the safety of Nova Scotia and to encourage the settlement of that province by New Englanders. Newcastle replied that the king would not countenance the removal of Phillips from his governorship or regiment, but that he would support Shirley's request on Phillips' death. However, the durable Colonel Phillips remained the governor of Nova Scotia until 1749, when he was superseded by Edward Cornwallis upon the founding of Halifax, disappointing Shirley in his bid for office and additional signs of ministerial favour. [101] 

By September, 1746, Shirley had heard rumours that the fortress was to be demolished. This information must have been a great disappointment to the governor, but his public reaction was restrained. Shirley wrote to Newcastle:

A Gentleman of this Place [Boston] having Communicated to me a Letter from Louisbourg, wherein he is inform'd by the Writer of it, that Mr. Knowles had assur'd him he was in daily Expectation of receiving Orders from his Majesty (in answer to his own Representations which the Writer tells the Gentleman Mr. Knowles had permitted him to read) for demolishing the Fortifications and filling up the Harbour of  Louisbourg and abandoning the Island ... [102] 

Shirley ignored the part of the rumour which suggested that the Island might be abandoned entirely. This possibility must have been particularly abhorrent to the governor. Instead, he advanced a suggestion postulated on continued British possession of Cape Breton Island. He wrote:

I think it fit, in Case this Intelligence is true (as from the Credit of the Person who sends it and the Confirmation of it by other persons of character at Louisbourg there is room to think it may) his Majesty should be appriz'd (if Mr. Knowles has not already in his Representation) that at St. Ann's on the East Side of the Island there is a very Commodious Harbour, capable of being fortified as strongly as that of Louisbourg, and at the bottom of which a Town and Garrison may be built to as great Advantage as the present Fortress of Louisbourg is; and that the French themselves when they first became Masters of the Island were a considerable time divided in their judgement whether they should build their City at St. Ann's and fortify that Harbour, or build and fortify where Louisbourg now stands. [103]

The ministry was certainly, discussing the demolition of the fortress by the summer of 1747, but whether it was a serious consideration in the late months of 1746 is not clear. There does not appear to have been any official correspondence with Shirley on the question, and it may be possible that the early stories concerning the demolition which reached Shirley's ears derived more from wishful thinking on the part of Knowles, who made no secret of his detestation of the place and his doubts of the real usefulness of the fortress to England on any permanent basis.. However, the d'Anville expedition and the emphasis the French government placed on retrieving the island in any peace settlement demonstrated the importance France attached to the stronghold, and lent the fortress a value not measurable strictly in military terms.

Although Newcastle and some of his supporters continued to emphasize the strategic and economic usefulness of Cape Breton Island to Britain and her colonies, the difficult and deteriorating military situation in 1747 for the allies in Europe began to force even Bedford and the Duke to view the island more as a bargaining point for peace rather than as a permanent acquisition. The abandonment of the Canada Expedition, Newcastle's dwindling ministerial support and his obsession with maintaining the system of alliances with Austria and Holland, the military superiority and diplomatic activity of France and her allies in Europe, Knowles' complete condemnation of Louisbourg, and Shirley's increasing political and military problems in New England which distracted his attention from Louisbourg, all contributed to the mounting emphasis on Louisbourg as a means of redressing allied losses in Europe and obtaining an honourable peace.


[1] Warren left Louisbourg on June 18, 1746, for New England, where he was to work with Shirley, to hasten the preparations for the Canada Expedition. See above pp. 257-259 and 303-322.

[2] N.S., A 28, fol. 200, Knowles and Bastide to Newcastle, July 8, 1746.

[3] Ibid.

[4] P.R.O., Adm. 1, vol. 2007, n.p., Knowles to Corbett, July 5, 1746.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Sussex Archaeological Society Peter Warren Papers, Private Letter Book, 1746, G/AM/6, n.p., Warren to Sydney Clark, June 2, 1746.

[7] P.R.O., Adm. 1, vol. 2007, n.p., Knowles to Corbett, July 5, 1746.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] P.R.0-2 CO5, vol. 44, fols. 102-102v, Pepperrell to Newcastle, November 4, 1745.

[11] Correspondence of Shirley, I, Lincoln, ed., p. 282, Shirley to Newcastle, October 29, 1745.

[12] Harvard University, School of Business Administration, Baker Library, n.p., Thomas Hancock Papers, Bastide to Thomas Hancock[?], July 12, 1746.

[13] P R.O. , CO5, vol. 901, fols . 123-124, Shirley to Newcastle, April 29, 1747.

[14] Ibid., vol. 44, fols. 227-227v, Knowles to Newcastle, April 29, 1747.

[15] Ibid., fols. 338-341v, "State and Condition of the Fortifications ... of Louisbourg", signed by P.T. Hopson and Bastide, July 12, 1749.

[16] N.S., A 29, fol. 2, Knowles to Newcastle, July 9, 1746.

[17] Ibid., fol. 1.

[18] Ibid., fols. 2-3.

[20] Ibid., fol. 4.

[21] Ibid., fols. 5-6.

[22] Ibid., fols. 7-8.

[23] Ibid., fol. 9.

[24] Ibid.

[25] P.R.O., CO5, vol. 44, fol. 116, Knowles to Newcastle, July 8, 1746.

[26] N.S., A 29, fol. 9, Knowles to Newcastle, July 9, 1746.

[27] P.R.O., Adm. 1, vol. 2007, n.p., Knowles to Corbett, July 5, 1746, including a postscript dated July 8, 1746.

[28] The Citadel Bastion was known as the King's Bastion to the French. N.S., A 29, fol. 29, Knowles to Newcastle, September 18, 1746.

[29] N.S., A 29, fols. 29-30, Knowles to Newcastle, September 18, 1746.

[30] According to H.W. Richmond, Townsend commanded at Louisbourg three 60 gun warships, one of 64-guns, two of 50-guns, five of 44-guns, one of 24-guns, plus five small armed cruisers. This was a squadron of considerably less fire-power than d'Anville's. . Richmond, The Navy, 111, p. 45.

[31] N.S., A 29,1 fol. 31, Knowles to Nevcastle, September 18, 1746; P.R.O., Adm. 1, vol. 2007, n.p., Knowles to Corbett, April 17, 1746; Knowles to Corbett, July, 5, 1745; Clements Library, Clinton Papers, vol. IV, n.p., Knowles to Clinton, November 13, 1746; Richmond, The Navy, III, p. 48. I have been unable to locate a copy of Martin's letter.

[32] N.S., A 29, fol. 41, Knowles to Newcastle, September 19, 1746.

[33] Ibid., fol. 42.

[34] Richmond, The Navy, III, p. 44; N.S., A 29, fol. 42, Knowles to Newcastle, September 19, 1746.

[35] N.S., A.29, fol. 42, Knowles to Newcastle, September 19, 1746.

[36] H.W. Richmond wrote that the French squadron included one warship of 74-guns, five of 64-guns, two of 60-guns, two of 56-guns, one of 50-guns, one of 30-guns and two of 26-guns. Furthermore, Admiral Marquis de Conflans was supposed to rendezvous with d'Anville with four warships, probably consisting of 74, 58, 50 and 46-gun ships. Richmond, The Navy, III, pp. 8, 45v 52; Guy Frégault,. L'Expédition du duc d'Anville", Revue d'Histoire de l'Amérique française, II, no. 1, (June, 1948) pp. 34, 43.

[37] Frégault, "L'Expédition du duc d'Anville", RHAF, pp. 34, 39-43, 47; Giasson, La Forteresse, pp. 153-154; Lacour-Gayet, La Marine Militaire, pp. 194-200; Clements Library, Clinton Papers, vol. IV, n.p., Knowles to Clinton, September 11, 1746.

[38] Giasson, La Forteresse, pp. 151-152; Frégault, "L'Expédition du duc d'Anville", RHAF, pp. 43-45.

[39] Giasson, La Forteresse, pp. 152-157; Frégault, "L'Expédition du duc dAnville", RHAF, pp. 44-49.

[40] Giasson, La Forteresse, pp. 157-158; Parkman, Conflict, pp. 356-358; Lacour-Gayet, La Marine Militaire, pp. 195-196; Brebner, New England's Outpost, p. 117; P.R.O., CO5, vol. 44, fols. 186-187, Captain Scott's account of the French fleet, enclosed in Knowles' dispatch to Newcastle, November 8, 1746.

[41] Giasson, La Forteresse, pp. 158-161; Stanley, New France,. pp. 19-20; Frégault, "LExpédition du duc dAnville", RHAF, p. 51-52.

[42] Lanctôt, Canada, III, pp. 68-69; Stanley, New France, pp. 2122; Brebner, New England's Outpost, p. 117.

[43] P.R.O., CO5, vol. 901, fol. 28, Shirley to Newcastle, August 22, 1746.

[44] Lanctôt, Canada, III, pp. 70-72.

[45] P.R.O., CO5, vol. 901, fol. 28, Shirley to Newcastle, August 22, 1746; Correspondence of Shirley, I, Lincoln, ed., pp. 334-335, Warren and Shirley to Wentworth, August 25, 1746; p. 392, Shirley to Clinton, July 24, 1747.

[46] P.R.O., CO5, vol. 901, fol. 39, Shirley to Newcastle, September 29, 1746.

[47] Correspondence of Shirley, I, Lincoln, ed., pp. 346-349, Shirley to the General Court of Massachusetts, September 9, 1746.

[48] Ibid., pp. 368-369, Shirley to Wentworth, November 12, 1746; pp. 378-379, Shirley to Greene, February 7, 1747; p. 392, Shirley to Clinton, July 24, 1747; pp. 427-428, Shirley to Clinton, March 22, 1748. See also: Schutz, Shirley, pp. -133138; Lanct3t, Canada, III, pp. 71-73.

[49] Ibid., p. 362, Shirley to Wentworth, October 25, 1746; P.R.O., CO5, vol. 44, fol. 178, Knowles to Newcastle, November 8, 1746; fols. 170-171, Knowles to d'Anville, October 9, 1746.

[50] For detail on the Articles of Indulgence, see below pp. 387-394. D.C. Harvey, The French Régime in Prince Edward Island, (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1926) pp. 116-119'; Stanley, New France, pp. 20-21; Beamish Murdoch, A History of Nova Scotia or Acadie, II, (Halifax: James Barnes, 1-866), pp. 89-91.

[51] P.R.O., CO5, vol. 44, fol. 186, Captain Scott's account of the French fleet, enclosed in Knowles' dispatch to Newcastle, November 8, 1746.

[52] Correspondence of Shirley, I, Lincoln, ed., p. 360, Shirley and Warren to Greene, October 23, 1746.

[53] P.R.O., CO5, vol. 44, fol. 178, Krowles to Newcastle, November 8, 1746.

[54] Frégault, "L'Expédition du duc d'Anville", RHAF, pp. 51-52; Richmond, The Navy in the War of 1739-48, 111, pp. 46-48.

[55] In 1747, the French ministry made another attempt to get la Jonquière and reinforcements to Canada. On May 10, la Jonquière left France with a squadron including thirteen warships and armed merchantmen mounting a total of 512 guns. There were 32 merchant vessels in the convoy, of which 19 were bound for Canada and the rest for the West Indies. Four days out of port, a powerful squadron under Admirals George Anson and Peter Warren caught the convoy. Anson and Warren commanded 16 men-of-war carrying no less than 926 guns. In the resulting action, during which the French warships fought valiantly, all of the French men-of-war were destroyed or captured. At least nine merchant ships were taken and a number of others forced to retire to France. La Jonquière was taken to England as a prisoner. Warren was knighted for his part in the action under Anson's command. This was the first really decisive naval action of the war to date., and was followed in October by Admiral Edward Hawke's victory over the Marquis de l'Etanduère, who was convoying more than 200 merchantmen to the West Indies with eight warships, plus one 60-gun armed merchant vessel. Hawke attacked with 15 men-of-war and destroyed or captured all but two of the warships; however, the obstinate fight by the French permitted the convoy to get clear. The British naval victories inflicted losses on the French navy which could be ill-afforded, and in some measure detracted from Saxe's victories in Europe. The main significance of these losses for the war in North America was that France could not meet the unceasing demand of her colony for armed support and supplies, thus severely limiting the number and effectiveness of offensive operations prepared by Governor Beauharnois against the English colonies. Lanctôt, Canada, III, pp. 72-76; Filion, Maurepas, p. 77; Stanley, New France, pp. 27-32; Richmond, The Navy in the War of 1739-48, 111, pp. 84-94, 104-112.

[56] Parkman, Conflict, p. 353.

[57] McLennan, Louisbourg, p. 174.

[58] N.S., A 30, fols. 12-13, Knowles to Newcastle, January 20, 1747.

[59] Ibid., fol. 14.

[60] Ibid., fols. 13-15.

[61] Clements Library, Clinton Papers, vol. 4, n.p., Knowles to Clinton, November 13, 1746.

[62] Dorn, Empire, p. 148.

[63] In July, 1746, Philip V of Spain, Louis XIV's grandson, died and was succeeded by the oldest son of his first wife, Ferdinand VI. It was generally expected that this event would end the domination of Spanish foreign policy by Philip s ambitious wife, Elizabeth Farnese, who obstinately promoted weak claims in Italy to provide principalities for her sons at the expense of Austria's possessions. The new king, whose wife was a Portuguese princess, was reputedly not fond of Elizabeth and her son Don Philip. Consequently, the Duke of Newcastle hoped that with the friendly influence of Portugal, England might detach Spain from France, forcing the French government to consider terms of peace advantageous to England. While the British government was attempting to exploit these possibilities, it was considered necessary to procrastinate in diplomatic discussions with Holland, where the need for peace was being strongly urged, but at the same time to avoid alienating the Dutch, who might make a separate agreement with France. This delicate task was entrusted to the 28-year old Earl of Sandwich, a friend and junior colleague of the Duke of Bedford. Although Sandwich was inexperienced in diplomacy, he had not been in politics long enough to make many political enemies and he was of sufficiently high birth to be favoured by Newcastle, especially because the Earl was not disposed to peace as was Trevor, but rather adhered to Bedford's more warlike school of thought. Trevor, having been effectively passed over in favour of an untried youth, retired as the British minister at The Hague, to which office Sandwich succeeded. Newcastle arranged for a private correspondence with Sandwich which was to be kept secret from Harrington, the minister to whom the Earl was officially responsible. This arrangement, which included the understanding that the conference at Breda was to be delayed from reaching a conclusion until the results of the efforts to detach Spain from France were discernible, undermined Harrington's authority and that of his successor, Chesterfield, giving Newcastle much of the control of foreign affairs which he desired. Lodge, Diplomacy, pp. 166-173.

[64] Mapperton House, Beaminster, volume of private letters from Sandwich to Newcastle, fols. 40-42, May 30[n.s.], 1747.

[65] Pitt had been promoted in May, 1746, to the office of Paymaster General of the Forces, which gave him a place in the Privy Council, but not in the Cabinet.

[66] Nottingham, The University, Newcastle Mss., NeC 447, n.p., Pitt to Pelham, August 17, 1746.

[67] See above, footnote 63, chapter eight.

[68] Nottingham, The Unversity, Newcastle Mss., Nec 447, n.p., Pitt to Pelham, August 17, 1746.

[69] Ibid.

[70] Ibid.

[71] The asiento was the lucrative privilege of providing Spanish America with 144,000 African slaves over a period of 30 years. Britain had extorted this privilege, which France envied, from Spain at the Peace of Utrecht. The asiento also permitted Britain to send one 500-ton ship annually carrying manufactured goods to trade fairs at Porto Bello and Vera Cruz. The asiento was much abused by British merchants who used the privilege to carry on an extensive contraband trade. The smugglers and the Spanish guarda costas were both guilty of excesses. When war between Spain and England broke out in 1739, the asiento had but four years left before the expiry date of the agreement.

[72] See above, footnote 63, chapter eight.

[73] Lodge, Diplomacy, pp. 237-244.

[74] Mapperton House, Beaminster, volume of letters from Newcastle to Sandwich, fols. 128-130, March 6, 1747; Lodge, Diplomacy, pp. 199, 208, 237-244.

[75] Lodge, Diplomacy, pp. 241-242.

[76] Mapperton House, Beaminster, volume of letters from Newcastle to Sandwich, fols. 127-132, March 6, 1746; Lodge, Diplomacy, p. 410.

[77] Lodge, Diplomacy, pp. 245-251; Dorn, Empire, pp. 162-164.

[78] Lodge, Diplomacy, pp. 250-258;. Mapperton House, Beaminster, letters from Secretaries of State, III, fols. 72-74, Chesterfield to Sandwich, January 27, 1747.

[79] Lodge, Diplomacy, pp. 250-258, 267-282 passim; Mapperton House, Beaminster, Appendix I, fol. 215, "Project of a paper to be given by the P. of Orange together with the general plan of Peace", unsigned and undated, but there is a note which reads "N.B. This paper was drawn by Ld. Sandwich and was the foundation on which the P. of Orange drew the Paper". The internal evidence of the document suggest it was written in late October or early November, 1747.

[80] Lodge, Diplomacy, pp. 267-282 passim.

[81] Mapperton House, Beaminster, Appendix I, "Plan of orders for Ld. S[andwich] when he was to return to the Hague August 1747". fol. 191, unsigned, undated.

[82] Buffinton, "Canada Expedition",. AHR, pp. 578-579.

[83] Mapperton House, Beaminster, volume of original letters from Newcastle to Sandwich, fols. 109-110, January 31, 1747, enclosing Privy Council Minutes of January 12, 1747. A copy of Warren's and Shirley's submission may be found in P.R.O., CO5, vol. 901, fols. 52-56, "A Plan for an Expedition against Canada", in Shirley's and Warren's dispatch of October 12, 1746. This packet of letters was received in London on November 24, 1746.

[84] Mapperton House, Beaminster, volume of original letters from Newcastle to Sandwich, fol. 110, January 31, 1747, enclosing Privy Council Minutes of January 12, 1747.

[85] Ibid., fols. 107-108, January 31, 1747.

[86] Ibid., fol. 129, March 6, 1747.

[87] Ibid., volume of private letters from Sandwich to Newcastle, fols. 4-5. March 24 [n.s], 1747.

[88] Buffinton, "Canada Expedition", AHR, p. 578; The Parliamentary History of England from the Earliest Period to the year 1803, vol. XIII, (London: 1812) pp. 1432-1433.

[89] P .R. O. , CO5, vol. 45, fols . 385-386, Newcastle to Shirley , May 30, 1747.

[90] Ibid., fols. 382v-383.

[91] Buffinton, "Canada Expedition", AHR, pp. 579-580.

[92] Historian Kate Hotblack suggested that Pitt did cooperate with Bedford in formulating the memorial proposing the Canada Expedition. A.H. Buffinton disagreed, stating that Pitt, although an enthusiastic supporter of the expedition, attributed the design to Bedford alone. Hotblack, Chatham, pp. 44-53; Buffinton, "Canada Expedition", AHR, p. 572.

[93] Pitt, quoted in Hotblack, Chatham, p. 49, no reference given.

[94] Wood, Shirley, p. 369.

[95] P.R.O., CO5, vol. 45, fols. 382v-383, Newcastle to Shirley, May 30, 1747.

[96] Correspozdence of Shirley, I, Lincoln, pp. 456-457, Shirley to Bedford, October 24, 1748; pp. 460-4,01, Shirley to Bedford, January 10, 1749; pp. 494-495, Shirley to Newcastle, December 11, 1749; pp. 501-502, Shirley to Newcastle, March 28, 1750; II, p. 5, Shirley to Newcastle, January 23, 1750. See also Schutz, Shirley, pp. 134-315, 140-141.

[97] Ibid., I, p. 495, Shirley to Newcastle, January 23, 1750.

[98] Ibid., p. 353, Warren and Shirley to Wentworth, September 12p 1746; p. 495, Shirley to Newcastle, January 23, 1750;. Schutz, Shirley, pp. 135-148; Wood, Shirley, pp. 393-396.

[99] Historian John Schutz observes that while Shirley took less advantage of the wartime situation to increase his personal fortune than might have other less scrupulous colonial officials, it was mainly because he sought office and honour before wealth. He used war contracts and the spoils of battle to manipulate people in his pursuit of power and policy formation. Consequently, many of his friends and supporters amassed fortunes far greater than Shirley's. Schutz, Shirley, pp. 121, 155-156, 269-271.

[100] Correspondence of Shirley, I, Lincoln, ed., p. 268, Shirley to Newcastle, September 27, 1745.

[101] Wood, Shirley, pp. 310-311, 375-377; Andrew H. Clark, Acadia, the Geography of Early Nova Scotia to 1760, (Milwaukee: University of Wisconsin Press, 1968) pp. 187-188.

[102] Correspondence of Shirley, I, Lincoln, ed., pp. 339-340, Shirley to Newcastle, August 24, 1746.

[103] Ibid., p. 340.