The King's Soldiers


Louis XIV did not overlook Acadia in his new colonial policy. It too received its King's soldiers, although it had to wait until ceded back to France by the Treaty of Breda in 1667 and abandoned by the Massachusetts militia, which had occupied it since 1654. Actual repossession did not occur until three years later, in August 1670, when Sieur de Grandfontaine landed in Acadia as the new governor and demanded that the British cede the colony in compliance with the treaty. He was escorted by a company of 50 soldiers, of whom he was the captain. This company was the sixth from the Carignan-Salières contingent sent back to New France, and Sieur de Grandfontaine was himself a veteran of the Iroquois campaigns of 1665 and 1666. It was the first time that royal troops were sent to Acadia.

Like the five companies dispatched to Canada, Grandfontaines company was disbanded in 1671 and its soldiers given an opportunity to remain in the colony. This prospect seemed to please them for several were already engaged in fishing and "almost all the soldiers [were] inclined to become settlers and even to marry, if some girls [came] from France." 54

They would not have much time to do so. In 1672, Louis XIV declared war on Holland. Two years later, a privateer flying the Dutch flag showed up in Acadian waters. There were no French ships defending of the coast, and even the forts were weak. The French resisted as best as they were able, but could not prevent Pentagoët and Jemsec from being taken and pillaged. The governor, Captain de Chambly, and his officers were taken prisoner and carried off to Boston. Liberated shortly thereafter, because the British had remained neutral in the Franco-Dutch conflict, they returned to Acadia. However, the colony remained without regular troops or even militiamen, and therefore practically undefended, throughout the 1680s.