If our ancestors had been wise in preserving the papers of their fathers, long ago there might have been collected from such documents, and displayed, many particulars of positive information concerning the very early history of the English in Acadia.
We might have possessed a much fuller history of the times when great difficulties and dangers opposed the settlers. When rushing rivers had to be crossed without boat or bridge; when men and women often found it necessary to contend single handed with Indians; and when, for meeting the many obstacles that placed themselves in their path, our ancestors were often but poorly equipped.
Whilst we take pride in the hardships cheerfully borne by our forefathers in the early colonial days, may we not be sometimes inclined to forget those fleet-footed, clever, dusky sons of the forest, to whose generous aid they were not infrequently indebted for protection from hostile men and savage beasts, and even sometimes for sustenance?
When we have secured positive information that now and again there have appeared among the brawny men of the forest noble specimens of all that is true and kind, let us not fail to record their deeds of faithfulness and heroism. The least we can do for such is to bring to light their actions and preserve their history. When beneath the shade of the forest, on the trackless desert, on the rushing river, in tempest and thunder, or when watching in the vicinity of an old fort or near the log cabin of the early colonists, the Red man has been found a faithful friend and guide; should not his deeds of kindness, faithfulness and bravery be recorded side by side with those of the noblest of the human race?
The story related in the following chapters has been gathered from facts stated in time-worn documents, which have been lying for generations concealed in a wooden box. The only regret of the writer is, that it was impossible for him to gain access to all the old musty and defaced papers in the box. The old gentleman, in whose possession they were found, is very old and eccentric, and by no effort or persuasion could the writer induce him to part company with the documents, but for a short time. But although the task of procuring them was extremely difficult, and that of deciphering them afterwards was both difficult and tedious, still the satisfaction of having rescued from decay and destruction, what seems so interesting, is satisfaction sufficient for the writer.
That portion of the documents relating the events in connection with the first and second settlement of an English officer and his family, during the last century, in a district which is now said to be one of the most beautiful portions of Canada, is most instructive and interesting, although at times, while deciphering it, the writer felt his blood quicken in its pulsations, and tears forcing their way to the surface.
A few years previous to this English officers first attempt at settlement in Nova Scotia, he came out to Quebec with his regiment. The remaining portion of this introductory chapter will narrate some events in connection with the early life of the officer, his coming to Quebec with his regiment, his short stay there, and his return to his native country:—