Charles Godfrey was born at St Ann’s, England, in the year 1730. The following, copied from an old document, gives a brief sketch of his early career:—“Was put on board His Majesty’s ship Bedford, Capt. Cornwall master, in the year 1741, and in 1742 went out to the Mediterranean. In 1743 was at the siege of Villa Franca, where with a large party of seamen was ordered on shore, and quartered at a six gun battery, under the command of Capt. Gugger, of the Royal Artillery. Was at the battle of Toulon, with Admirals Matthews and Lostock, on board said ship Bedford, then commanded by George Townsend. Was at the taking of several rich ships off the Island of Malta, which ships and their cargoes were afterward restored to the Genoese. Continued in the navy till the peace of Utretch, and for sometime subsequently. Afterward, a warrant being procured, attended the Royal Academy at Woolwich as a gentleman cadet, in which station was allowed to remain till 1755. Received a commission, and was appointed to the 52nd foot, by the recommendation of His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, who was afterwards pleased to recommend me for a Lieutenancy, and a few years later my friends procured for me a Captaincy.”
Captain Godfrey returned to England on board a transport from Quebec. This young officer appears to have been highly respected by the different Generals and Field Officers under whom he had served. He was presented, shortly after his arrival in England, with a certificate of character, signed by Lieut.-Genl. John Clavering, Colonel of the 52nd Regt., Lieut.-Genl. Edward Sandford, Lieut.-Genl. Sir John Seabright, Major-Genl. Guy Carleton, Major-Genl. John Alex. McKay, Lieut.-Col. Valentine Jones, Lieut.-Genl. Burgoyue, and Major Philip Skene.
[Footnote 1: The full name of this British officer is not given in any part of this work.]
The above has been copied principally for the purpose of showing that the following story has for its characters those who once lived and moved in the early English colonial life of Acadia. If the districts and places where the events related in this book occurred could speak, they would tell nearly the same thrilling and extraordinary story. In many of these localities great and important changes have taken place through a century and a quarter of time, but the records of the past remain unchanged.
Our barns may be built over the graves of the Indians, and our houses on the sites of their wigwams; our cattle may graze upon the hillsides and valleys of their hunting grounds, and our churches may be erected on positions where the Red men of the forest gathered together to invoke the blessing of the Great Chief of the everlasting hunting ground, yet what is truly written of the past must remain unalterable.
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Note.—The wrecked transport Pitt was named, it is said, in honour of the Earl of Chatham; and tradition states that one of the boats of the ship drifted from the wreck and went ashore at a point of land near where the town of Chatham now stands, the ship’s name being painted on the boat; and from this circumstance Chatham, on the Miramichi River, received its name.