April 17, 1786
Nausssau, March 4. Towards the close of last year, several large French transports, having on board about one thousand Acadian families, arrived at New Orleans from Rochelle [Rochelle is an error by the writer of this article. The Acadians sailed from Nantes] in France. To these emigrants the Spanish government hath allotted lands in different parts of Louisiana. A number of Acadians are also expected to settle in the Floridas.
The reluctance which the French inhabitants of Louisiana manifested to a change of sovereigns is within our remembrance. It therefore strikes us as somewhat extraordinary, that Frenchmen should now voluntarily become the subjects of Spain; and gives rise to various conjectures respecting the probable causes that lead to so singular an event.
Accommodating the unfortunate Acadian exiles with territorial establishments carries an appearance of philanthropy, and a wish to alleviate immediate distress; and any application for so benevolent a purpose would command a ready attention at the Court of Madrid. Additional weight might also have been given to such application, by a suggestion of the barrier to American encroachment being strengthened by so considerable an – of subjects, whom every principle of gratitude would prompt to support, with zeal and alacrity, the interests of their new sovereign.
The measures of the French court, however, can seldom be ascribed to such disinterested motives. A keen attention to advantage, either immediate or future, with little hesitation about the means employed, have long been considered the leading feature in their character. The introduction of these Acadian settlers into Louisiana and Florida may, therefore, perhaps, without much violence, be regarded as a measure preclusive to another change in the sovereignty of those countries. The unwieldiness of the Spanish American empire, the great expense of the civil and military establishments in Louisiana and Florida, without any returns whatever from either, to compensate it in any degree; these considerations may, at no very distant period, give efficacy to any overture, from the politick court of Versailles for a cession of the countries in question; more especially, if accompanied with a proposition to guarantee to Spain her other trans-atlantick dominions.
Acquiring the possession of the extensive fertile regions of Louisiana and Florida is an important object to France. They yield in abundance every article of American produce, which either herself or her West-India colonies stand.
Paper: Mass Gazette.; Date: 1786-04-17; Vol: V; Iss: 236; Page: ; Headline: New-Providence, Nassau