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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

Reports of the Public Archives of Canada (1872-1972): 18th Century Isle Royale and Cape Breton Selections


Eric Krause

Krause House Info-Research Solutions

Papers Relating to Nova Scotia ~ 
1603 - 1801 (18th Century Selections)


Series Examined in this Calendar for Cape Breton (1603-1801):

Spring, 1745, folio 54b: Mascarene to Shirley. The intended expedition is a glorious under taking; wishes he could have taken part in it. The winter has been passed with ease; the enemy has not come near; the season has been favourable; the inhabitants have brought materials; the works present a different appearance; the garrison healthy and the auxiliaries, &c., satisfied. Report of Duvivier's arrival at Louisbourg with a new Governor and three ships. This, with other intelligence, has stirred the garrison to greater activity. The number and distribution of the troops. B. M. add. 1907 1, folio 54b ...

April 6, 1745, Boston, p. 12: Shirley to House of Representatives. Had recommended Bastide for Boston. his services on the works at Castle William and at the other forts as far as Casco Bay which be bad performed at the request of a committee of the House. Is now employed in preparation for the expedition against Cape Breton. Again urges an acknowledgment of Bastide's services.

April 29, 1745, Annapolis Royal, p. 213: Mascarene to Secretary of State (Newcastle). Since the sailing of the French armament no enemy has appeared within reach. Is repairing the fort with all diligence. Report of reinforcements for Louisbourg and of an intended attack on Annapolis. The probability of the truth of this, but the armament from New England against Louisbourg will prevent an early attempt on Annapolis. Has retained the four auxiliary companies sent by Shirley, without which he could not have carried on the common duty of the garrison. The minutes enclosed will show the conduct of the French inhabitants, whilst the enemy was in the Province.

May 18, 1745, Louisbourg, folio 4: DuCbambon to Pepperrell and Warren (in French.) Refuses to listen to a proposal for the surrender of the fort, until after the most vigorous attack. 

June 18, 1745, Louisbourg, p. 28: Warren to Secretary of State (Newcastle.) Pepperrell and he by a joint letter had informed His Grace that they were in quiet possession of Louisbourg, surrendered by capitulation, the articles of which will be transmitted. Recommends that the New England forces employed on this expedition should be rewarded either by preferment or otherwise, and as General (Pepperrell) is a gentleman of considerable fortune in New England recommends him for a baronetcy. In any future expedition 30,000 men could be raised by a gentleman in whom they could have confidence, but as the New Englanders are almost levellers they must be treated differently from other military forces. Macdonald of the Marines has been promoted to be colonel, other officers (not named) also promoted. Broadstreet (Bradstreet ?) of Philipps's regiment recommended. Asks for the government of New Jersey when it shall be vacant, and hopes his services will entitle him to his rank in the navy.

June 19, 1745, Louisbourg, p. 30: Pepperell to Secretary of State (Newcastle.)  Recommends that a garrison should be Louisbourg. left at Louisbourg; that he should have command of his regiment and that Bradstreet should be his Lieut.-Colonel. He was the first projector of the expedition and has distinguished himself on all occasions. Asks leave to go to New England. His high opinion of Warren. 

June 28, 1745, Louisbourg, pp. 34-55: Pepperell to Secretary of State (Newcastle.) (The date is as in the margin, although it is not improbable it should be the 18th.) The capture of Louisbourg, effected on the 16th instant by his Majesty's New English subjects, whom he had the honour to command, assisted by a squadron of ships under Warren. On the 17tb the ships entered the harbour and part of the troops marched into the city; regulations made for its security and government. Sends copy of capitulation and list of troops raised in Now England. Praises the troops for their zeal and endurance in transporting guns, landing stores &c.; gives details of the operations. The French had intended to attack Annapolis this summer bad they and the Indians not been called on for the defence of Louisbourg, for which they were too late. There were in the city, without them, 2,000 men able to bear arms. The necessity that warm clothing should be sent for the troops.

Enclosed. Demands made and terms agreed upon for the surrender of Louisbourg. 

Registry of the commissions in the army under the command of the Hon. Wm. Pepperrell, Esq., for an expedition against the French settlement on Cape Breton. The names, with the dates of the commissions of the general officers are: William Pepperrell, Esq., Lieutenant General and Commander-in-Chief of all the forces by sea and land, dated 31st January, 1745, from Governors Shirley, Law and Wentworth. Roger Wolcott, Esq., Major General from Governor Shirley, dated 7th March, 1745. Samuel Waldo, Esq., Brigadier General, from Governor Shirley, dated 7th March, 1745. Joseph Dwight, Esq., Brigadier General, from Governor Shirley, dated 20th February, 1745.

In the preceding list, the year is given as by modern usage; in the following it is given in. the old style, February and March, 1744, that is 1745.

The names of the officers of each regiment are given; those of the Colonels are:

MASSACHUSETTS, 1st regiment; Hon. Wm. Pepperrell; 2nd Samuel Waldo; 3rd, Jeremiah Moulton; 4tb, Samuel Willard; 5th. Robert Hall; 6th, Sylvester Richmond, Jun.; 7th, Shubael Gorham.

CONNECTICUT regiment "whereof William Burr is Colonel," in the list "Andrew " Burr is given as Colonel and Samuel Lothrop as Lieut. Colonel.

NEW HAMPSHIRE regiment, Samuel Moore.

Train of artillery sent from MASSACHUSETTS, Joseph Dwight.

The list of the other officials --- Surgeons, commissaries, transport officers, &c. --- follow.

Ratification of the capitulation.

(Duplicate of this at p. 55.)

July 4, 1745, Louisbourg, p. 53: Warren and Pepperrell to Secretary of State (Newcastle). Send duplicate of letter of 18th June, by a second express and recapitulate its contents. As they have no power to put the Colonies to expense for the repair or maintenance of the garrison, they have been obliged to draw on the Treasury. Such troops as may be sent to garrison the place should be supplied with provisions and they must have warm clothing and lodging. Recommend Captain Rouse, who commands one of the Colonial cruisers and who carries this dispatch, to be appointed to one of His Majesty's best sailing snows to be sent on the New England station, under the orders of the commanding sea officer. The question of a treaty with the Indians is now under consideration.

July 10, 1745, Boston, Ff. 82:  Shirley to Lords of Trade. Account of the reduction of Cape Breton

October 3, 1745, Louisbourg, p. 66: Pepperrell to Secretary of State (Newcastle). Is pleased to learn of the satisfaction with the success of the expedition against Cape Breton. Thanks for the dignity conferred on him; hopes to confirm the sentiments of loyalty in His Majesty's New England subjects, so universally prevailing among them. Is happy to find such prompt measures taken for the security of the new acquisition and that Warren, whom he esteems highly, is to be appointed Governor. Had allowed no questions of precedency in command to interfere with the operations, as had been too frequently the case in other expeditions. Capture of a rich South Sea ship, two East Indian ships and several other valuable prizes in sight of the soldiers, who think it a hardship if they do not share in the prize money. Will attend to cultivating an agreement with the Indians, now in the French interest, and to promoting the settlement and security of the conquest, in conjunction with Warren and Shirley; the zeal and good qualities of the latter. He (Shirley) is remaining at Louisbourg to take measures with the Now England troops for its security. It was due to his importunity that he (Pepperrell) had taken the command, as Shirley represented there would be a risk of failure should he himself leave his Government. 

October 3, 1745, Louisbourg, p. 63: Warren to Secretary of State (Newcastle).  Had received dispatch by Rouse, that his report of the success at Louisbourg had been delivered. His pleasure at the expression of His Majesty's satisfaction; the importance of the acquisition towards securing the possessions on the Continent, by giving an opportunity to extirpate the French from North America, thus securing the fish and fur trades, which then would be infinitely more valuable than now, when the Indians are stirred up by the French, preventing them from procuring the valuable furs which the continent affords. Unless, however, a civil Government be established, it be made a free port and such other advantages be given as will encourage settlers, Louisbourg will be a most expensive garrison. Has communicated to the fleet His Majesty's satisfaction. The favour shown to the New England troops will have a good effect. If all the Governments (Provinces) were under the influence of their respective Governors as New England is under that of Shirley, they might do great things. Is glad be (Shirley) is to be rewarded for his services; he has been here for some time and has had a difficult task to keep the troops easy under their disappointment at not being allowed to return after the expedition was over. Is gratified at his promotion, but would decline the Governorship if possible; will, however, remain till further orders. Is glad the Ordnance stores and troops are ordered here. It being too late to send the inhabitants of the Island of St. John to France this year, has made a treaty with them to remain neutral; they should be sent off next Spring, Seeing the ill effects in Nova Scotia of leaving any of them in the King's territories, and it would be a good thing if those at Annapolis Royal could be removed. His close friendship with Pepperrell. His wish to be sent as Governor either to New York or the Jerseys. 

November 4, 1745, Louisbourg p. 68: Pepperrell to Secretary of State (Newcastle). Is with Shirley and Louisbourg. Warren, forwarding the necessary repairs, providing fuel, &c., for the winter. Will endeavour to give the troops from Gibraltar as comfortable a reception as possible. Hopes the engineer promised will be here speedily, as there is only Bastide, the engineer for Annapolis. His request to be appointed Governor was made before he knew that Warren had been selected. Outbreak of fever and mortality in the garrison. 

November 23, 1745, Louisbourg, p. 70: Warren to Secretary of State (Newcastle). He, Pepperrell, and Shirley have been constantly employed on the works. Shirley's presence has been of great service in contenting the New England troops, who were and are, uneasy at not being dismissed, their construction of the proclamation being absurd, as if they could leave before the place was protected by regular troops, which he is afraid may not arrive this fall. The garrison will then be very weak with 2,000 men, many of them sick and unfit for duty. The garrison is sickly, a condition be has observed in all towns that have been besieged, bat he hopes the cold will remedy this. Thinks of keeping the "Vigilant" here all winter, and of ordering the other ship,, to be here early in spring; hopes the squadron may arrive before the French can send one to block him up; will lay booms to defend the harbour. The expense of the garrison will be extraordinary and can only be lessened by encouraging the inhabitants to carry on the fishery; as the population increases, the number of troops may be lessened. Recommends the making up of the convoys here and again urges the establishment of a free port and a civil government under a man of honour, humanity and toleration of dissenters as in Massachusetts, whose morality he praises. His desire to resign this government; recommends Shirley, if be would accept; his great influence in New England might warrant his being there, leaving the government to the next commanding officer, Shirley only requiring to visit the place once a year, except upon extraordinary occasions; his qualifications for the office. If three regiments of Americans be established here, recommends Waldo for the command. Remarks on the force necessary for the reduction of Canada, which it is for the interest of all the Colonies to assist in. Recommends Capt. Tyng, who commanded all the Colonial armed vessels till his (Warren's) arrival. The danger of leaving the French inhabitants in Nova Scotia. False alarm that a French squadron was coming to attack Annapolis; the fatal consequence of their success. Bastide's plan for strengthening the garrison sent to the Board of Ordnance; repeats his warning of the extraordinary expense necessary for the fortifications. Expects great trouble in regulating the garrison if regular troops do not arrive. The losses sustained this year in the East India, South Sea and fish trade from causes stated. Vessels expected which should be watched for. P. S. Intelligence received of an intended attack from Canada on Louisbourg. Would have recommended Pepperrell for Governor, but be does not choose to reside, although he has promised that if an attack is made on Louisbourg he would return with a number of men. Captive Indians sent to the Indians of Nova Scotia to consult on terms of peace; the success of Clinton's negotiations with the Six Nations. Two vessels to be sent to France in a few days with 120 inhabitants of Louisbourg, agreeably to the capitulation, who will no doubt report the weak state of the garrison and the number of deaths, from eight to fourteen a day, so that no doubt the French will make an early and vigorous push to regain Louisbourg. Is trying to et succours from the Colonies, but is doubtful of the result. As no confidence can be placed in the inhabitants who were allowed to remain in their possessions, they have been ordered into garrison to be sent to France as soon as possible, as was done with the 120; they number 287 souls ...

No date. pp. 17-22:  Description of L .... g in the i ...ds of B...t...n." 

A rough map of Louisbourg. 

"Some observations on the situation and strength of the harbour and town of Louisbourg on the island of cape Breton by John Elliot, surgeon to Lieut.-General Philipps's regiment, who was prisoner there for six months." [These two documents and the map or plan (undated) appear to have been prepared before the attack on Louisbourg, and whilst it was in  possession of the French]

January 18, 1746, Louisbourg, p. 1: Warren and Pepperell to Secretary of State (Newcastle). Recapitulate contents of previous letters. The sickness and mortality in the garrison, 500 being buried since Shirley left, and 1,100 still sick, want of firewood and other necessaries and of comforts for the sick. The shattered state of the houses. Shirley will take measures to reinforce the garrison early in spring. It was fortunate the "Vigilant" and "Chester," were kept as the seamen garrisoned the Grand Battery, so that the American Forces were brought into the town to garrison the extensive works. The liability to surprise, there being no out settlement, whilst the enemy are informed of the circumstances of the garrison through the inhabitants. It must be the first care to remove them in Spring; suggest St. Ann as a fit place to settle with British subjects; sends plan. It is commodious for the fishery and has several improved farms. A garrison required; the strength of St. Ann. The non-arrival of troops was for the better, owing to the want of necessaries. Have Sent to New England for the frames of houses to accommodate 2,000 men, but all the public buildings should be of brick or stone slated, except such as are immediately wanted. Believe that 3,000 or 4,000 troops. are as few as should be in garrison. The French had only 800 regulars, but in three days they could call in 5,000 or 6,000 well armed men; call attention to repairs required and to the want of a civil government, recommend that the port be free, &e. Need of a careening place, if the American and West Indian trade are to make up here for convoy. The loss of the " Rousby " and of all the crew (24 in number) but three seamen, who can give no definite information, except that they lost the convoy on the Banks of Newfoundland, three weeks before the wreck. Are afraid that if the enemy should send a superior naval force before the squadron shall arrive the store ships may be taken off the coast. Requisition for ordnance. Have learned since writing of Shirley's arrival at Boston ...

June 2, 1746, Louisbourg, p. 8: Warren to Secretary of State (Newcastle). Arrival of Admiral Townsend with men-of-war and store ships; it was his second attempt, 
having been driven off the first time much shattered, and with the loss of the company of two of his squadron; the transports from Gibraltar had arrived about a fortnight before. H. M. S. " Towey " sent to protect the trade of Virginia, the "Torrington" sent to New York for the 'Ruby " transport, the only one with troops missing and now daily expected. Arrival of Knowles; has received word that his (Warren's) resignation is accepted. The good qualities of his successor. Had informed Townsend of the plan of operations he had intended, had the command of the squadron remained in his hands. Sails for Boston in two days; discontent of the American officers at not being promoted. The expense of the garrison is, and will continue to be, great till the works are completed; additional barracks required. Nearly 2,000 men have been buried since taking possession, owing greatly to the want of necessaries. Till barracks are built, there will be no houses to receive inhabitants, who would gladly flock to the place from all the Colonies, if they could have land and fishing places granted and a civil government established. Hopes to have the necessary preparation made for the to expedition in Spring, &e. 

June 2, 1746, Louisbourg. Return of troops in the garrison, including officers:


General Faller's,                                                  606
Colonel Warburton's                                            613
Colonel Shirley's                                                  517
Sir W. Pepperrell's                                                417
Colonel Franton's (arrived but not yet landed)  300
Royal Artillery                                                        64

Total                                                                   2,517

The return is signed by Warren ...

January 20, 1747, Louisbourg, p. 135 [duplicate at p. 139]: Knowles to Secretary of State (Newcastle). ... The sufferings of the garrison from cold. The quantity of snow 

"in many places twelve to sixteen feet deep and when it ceases snowing the whole island is covered with an entire sheet of ice; nothing is more common than for one guard to digg the other out of the guard room before they can relieve them and so by the rest of the officers and soldiers out of their several quarters, the drift snow sometimes covering the houses entirely"

Sends state of fortifications and the reason they are in such bad condition. The rotten state of the bedding: the disappointment that the clothing has not arrived ... 

November 3, 1751, Halifax, H 16: Cornwallis to Lords of Trade ... Merchants in New York, through their agents in Boston, are supplying Louisbourg with flour in large quantities. They and the merchants at Rhode Island taking their pay in rum and molasses, which they run into the colonies without paying duty. All the colonies, indeed, are carrying on this trade, without which Louisbourg could not subsist ...

October 16, 1752, Halifax, H 88: Hopson to Lords of Trade ... provisions ordered [by Hopson] from Mssrs. Apthorpe, of Boston, and Delancey & Watts, of New York, both good houses ...

June 1, 1754, Halifax, H 252: Lawrence to Lords of Trade ... In spite of the conduct of the French, the Boston merchants continue to supply Louisbourg with provisions in great quantities ...

August 1, Halifax, H 256: Lawrence to Lords of Trade ... The settlement at Lunenburg continues to do well; a few Germans have deserted, but as they were dregs, it is no loss ... Seizure of a Boston vessel in the Bay of Fundy engaged in illicit trade; but for the supplies from Boston, the French could not have supported themselves or supplied the Indians ... Arrival of families from Cape Breton, who report the people there to be starving ; after some demur, they took the oath without reservation and were allowed to remain; in the meantime they have been sent to Lunenburg where they will receive provisions ...

August 29, 1768, Halifax, P. 8: Francklin to Secretary of State (Hillsborough). In consequence of the withdrawal of troops from the island of cape Breton, all the inhabitants who have property will leave, as the greater part of the people on the island are the dregs of the English and French garrisons, and the same class from Newfoundland and the continental part of Nova Scotia, from whom every irregularity and disorder may be apprehended. The first magistrate also proposed to leave, but has been induced to remain on the promise of a salary of £100. In order to get as many as possible to remain, has allowed them to occupy the houses at Louisbourg. Suggests that such houses are not destroyed might be given away on certain conditions. Major Milward of the 59th has expended a considerable sum in buildings and improvements on lands in the north east harbour of Louisbourg and asks for a grant of 500 acres. 

August 29, 1768,  Halifax, p. 252: Francklin to Secretary of State (Hillsborough). A similar letter to Board of Trade Nova Scotia, Volume 25, August 29, 1768, Halifax, P. 8: Francklin to Secretary of State (Hillsborough). P. 256, Enclosed in the letter: The present state of the island of Cape Breton.

September 15, 1768, Halifax, p. 267: Francklin to Secretary of State (Hillsborough). The arrival of Campbell and the departure of the King's troops for Boston are so recent as to prevent him from sending a perfect state of Cape Breton and Louisbourg.

September 26, 1768, Halifax, pp. 279-299: Francklin to Secretary of State (Hillsborough). Sends plan of Louisbourg, and state of public Halifax. buildings and other houses, corrected to 10th August, when the troops were withdrawn. How the houses are occupied; no rent to be taken in the meantime, but an acknowledgment so as to encourage the people to remain. Proposes the buildings to be disposed of thus: for houses in good repair, two pence; in tolerable repair, one penny; in bad repair, one half-penny; in ruins, one farthing; each rate for every four square feet the building stands on; lots laid out for yards and garden, one penny for every 100 square feet; the property to be granted in fee simple, but not to be alienated for ten years, with the usual forfeiture clause. For the township of Louisbourg 10,000 acres should be appropriated, with a common near the town, the situation of which is indicated, to consist of 500 acres and pasture lots divided into five acres each. Other lands for a globe, school and other public purposes. Sends lists of occupants by license now in possession and of licenses of occupation for lands farther from the water than the reservations.

Enclosed. State of the town of Louisbourg on the 10th August, showing houses (numbered on the plan which follows); of what material (stone or wood); state of repair; whether previously occupied by the French as private or public buildings; by whom at present occupied. Most of the houses are marked" private"; only 21 names are given as those of occupants.

Lists of improvements made on the island of Cape Breton; at Louisbourg, Manadou (Main à Dieu); Le Baleine; Caberous (Gabarus) Bay; Bras Dor (Bras d'Or); Miré River; Petit Degrat. The names of the occupants are all given.

List of licenses of occupation. Names of holders given. 

Plan of Louisbourg; lots numbered.

(Duplicates of letters and enclosures are attached to Order in Council of the 22nd December, 1768, marked P. 38, Board of Trade, Nova Scotia, Volume 25)

January 22, 1783, Halifax, p. 13: Parr to Nepean ... The wretched condition of the new settlers [in Halifax] for want of boards and nails; he has already prepared a quantity of the former for the new arrivals, as there is not a hut to shelter. Those from Charlestown are worse off than the refugees from New York, as they have come almost naked from the burning sands of South Carolina to the frozen coast of Nova Scotia; has asked for a supply of clothing ...

October 22, 1773, Halifax: Morris to Campbell. In accordance with orders, reports on the lands to be reserved for timber. Cape Breton contains principally forest lands. Black birch, used for ship building and wharves, is very durable and not attacked by worms; black spruce is best for shipping and for masts of small vessels, but would serve for topmasts for the largest vessels. There is some pine, but the heavy gales on the coast cause shakes in the butts, from 10 to 20 feet up; above that they have often 40 to 60 feet fit for plank. Recommends that the whole island be reserved ...

July 6, 1783, Halifax, p. 96: Parr to Lord North ... Has received application from refugees from New York for leave to settle in Cape Breton ...

Extracted and edited from the Report on Canadian Archives, 1894 (Ottawa: S. E. Dawson, 1895), pp. 1-573.

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