Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Queen Anne and the Acadians

Since I had already read Lady Queen Anne, A biography of Queen Anne of England by Margaret Hodges (1969), I noticed when she was mentioned in the NPS film at the Jean Lafitte National Park in Lafayette, Louisiana .

The bad news for the Acadians was that part of their land in Canada was ceded to England in the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. Rather than vacate the English-controlled Nova Scotia, many Acadians remained. Queen Anne wanted it stipulated in Article 14 of the Treaty that:

"...those who are willing to remain here, and to be subjects to the Kingdom of Great Britain, are to enjoy the free exercise of their religion according to the usage of the Church of Rome as far as the laws of Great Britain do allow the same."(Quote found in Article 14 link)
Was this a trade-off for better treatment of Protestants in France? Probably. Practically from birth, Queen Anne was caught up in a religious maelstrom.

King Charles II was in charge of the upbringing of Mary and Anne..their religious life was under the supervision of an undoubted Protestant. This step, the King felt, would draw attention away from the strong Catholic leanings of their father, James, Duke of York, who was heir to the throne if Charles’s wife had no children. England was fanatically opposed to “Popery...”. (Barnes book)

Queen Anne, the last Stuart monarch*, who died in 1714, was long dead when the English forced the Acadians out of their homes in 1755 in what was known as Le Grand Derangement (or the Great Upheaval). Those woe-begotten refugees eventually found their way to Louisiana; their descendants are now known as Cajuns.

*“Queen Anne of England, the last of the Stuart monarchs, was born in 1665, …but the issues and conflicts of her day seem strangely and excitingly contemporary to modern readers. Then, as now, there were agonies over a long, puzzling, and costly war. As in our day, honest men and solid citizens were dismayed by the flouting of moral standards and by political factions tearing at each other’s throats in time of national crisis." (Barnes book)

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