Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB
May 12, 1892


Contributions to the History of Charlotte County and the Border Towns.


[Rev. W. O. Raymond, M. A.]

1.-The Indians allied with the French.

Pierre de Guast, Sieur de Monts, and governor of Pons, in Saintonge, had, during the troubles of the League, rendered important service to King Henry IV., of France.  In token of his appreciation, that monarch, by an edict dated November 8, 1603, named de Monts Lieut.-General of the ‘lands and territories of La Cadia.’  Amongst other desirable objects, which the edict states in detail, the first mentioned is ‘to cause the people which do inhabit the country to be converted to Christianity.’

In the summer of 1604, de Monts, with his famous colleagues, Champlain and Poutrincourt, landed on the shores of Nouvelle France.

The first winter was passed on St. Croix island.  The Passamaquoddy Indians were frequent visitors at the little settlement and from the first assumed a friendly attitude towards the new-comers.

The Passamaquoddies, in common with others of the Wabanaki, were early brought under Christian influence through the labors of the Recollet and Jesuit fathers.  It will be seen that whilst the influence of their religious teachers served in some degree to moderate the savage habits of the Indians, it also rendered them remarkably constant in their adherence to the French cause in the prolonged struggle waged between the two great European powers for the sovereignty of Acadia.

So intimately were the different tribes of the Wabanaki associated in the events of the French period that it is difficult to consider the history of the Passamaquoddies apart from that of their neighbors.

In the year 1613 occurred the first collision between the English and French colonists in America.  The scene was in the vicinity of Mount Desert, where a French ship, with three Jesuit priests and a number of intending settlers, was captured by Captain Samuel Argal, of Virginia.  Subsequently Argal visited the French settlement on the Isle of St. Croix, where he seized whatever he could lay hands on, burned the buildings, and erased all marks of French dominion, in accordance with orders received from the Virginia government.  Compelling one of the St. Croix Indians to act as pilot, Argal next proceeded to Port Royal which he destroyed.

The settlement at Passamaquoddy was re-established by the French, and again taken by the English, only to be restored to France by the treaty of 1632.

The year of the peace, the Company of Nouvelle France made to Isaac de Razilly a grant at St. Croix of twelve leagues by twenty,1 comprising the river and bay.  The grant is dated May 19, 1632; and in its terms conveys to de Razilly ‘the river and bay Sainte Croix, the islands therein contained, and the adjacent lands on each side in New France, to the extent of twelve leagues in width, taking the middle point of the Isle of St. Croix, where the Sieur de Monts wintered, and twenty leagues in depth from the port aux Coquilles which is one of the islands of the mouth of the river and bay of Sainte Croix.’

Another grant was made June 28, 1684, by the Governor-General of Canada, M. de la Barre, and the Intendant, M. de Meules, to Jean Sarreau de St. Aubin, of five leagues in front on the sea shore and five leagues in depth ‘at a place called Pascomady and its environs, with the isles and islets of rocks about six leagues off for seal fishery; also the island called Archimagan, and the islands for two leagues round it.’

Two years later the settlement at St. Croix numbered twenty persons.

August 13, 1685, Governor Denis granted to the ecclesiastics of the Episcopal Seminary of Foreign Missions at Quebec a tract of land on the River St. Croix, three leagues long and three in depth, reserving the right of building a store house and trading with the savages; the seminary to have a mission, a church or chapel, and a resident priest, maintained at their expense: the exact location to be determined within ten years to suit the convenience of the savages.

The pains taken at this time to gain the good will of the Indians is noteworthy.  Baron la Hontan, from the year 1683 to 1694, lived in North America.  He states, in a book published on his return home, ‘The French neglect nothing to secure the Indians, giving some notable ones pay as a lieutenant or ensign, and giving them rewards for mischief to the English, paying them for scalps, etc.  Taking Indians to Europe to show them the glories of the French court and armies.  There are now at Versailles six sagamores, or chiefs, from Canada, Hudson Bay and Nova Scotia, all soliciting aid against the English.  The French are zealous in sending missionaries amongst the Indians; the English neglect to give them religious instruction.’

1The French league is equal to about two and a half miles.

Correction: Article XXIII contains the following correction to this one: "Insert ‘in’ before the words ‘one of the islands,’ in the description of Razilly’s grant.  Strike out paragraph relating to grant to the Episcopal Seminary of Foreign Missions."