East of Nova Scotia and the adjoining island of Cape Breton, the French had planted a colony, some years before, in the bay of Placentia, on the southern coast of Newfoundland. The Sieur Parat, governor of Placentia, reports to Louis XIV, in 1686, that in consequence of the measures he has taken, there remains but a solitary Huguenot family in the place. Several have renounced heresy, as will be seen by the enclosed certificates of abjuration. The surgeon of the port, being a Huguenot, he has sent him join on a ship sailing for Marseilles. One is tempted to suspect that a vein of irony can be discovered in the governor’s communication, as he proceeds to ask whether he ought to arrest the French of the Pretended Reformed Religion who are on board English vessels, and if so, whether the requirement extends to the case of those who have been naturalized as Englishmen. If such be his Majesty’s intention, he adds demurely, a force will be needed to enable him to execute it. The king’s reply is equally demure. The governor may very properly cause such seamen to be arrested and sent to France, but let him be careful not to undertake anything in this regard without being sure of success.
Both the king and his servant knew that France held the little settlement of Placentia by a very feeble tenure. Six years later, the place was destroyed by the English. Meanwhile the governor could enforce upon the few defenceless Huguenots of his colony the penalties of the Edict of Revocation, without fear of rebuke from his royal master. How faithfully he did so we learn by a letter of the minister Louvois to the Sieur Parat in 1689.
Versailles, June 7, 1689.
The king has approved of the course you have taken in the case of the daughter of the Sieur Pasteur in sending her to the nuns of Quebec, and his Majesty gives you liberty to compel the new converts whose conduct is not sufficiently exact to send their daughters thither, in order that they may be taught the duties of religion, and may be kept there until an opportunity may be found to marry them to good Catholics. You will, however, be careful to proceed cautiously in this matter, lest these efforts should alarm the new converts, and drive them to the resort of escaping to the English.
Source : Charles W. Baird, History of the Huguenot Emigration to America, 1885
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