Baleine, Nova Scotia
Baleine (formerly Port aux Baleines) is a community in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, located in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality on Cape Breton Island. The community is perhaps best known as the landing site for pilot Beryl Markham's record flight across the Atlantic Ocean (See Memorial Plaque to Record Flight).
On 1 July 1629 70 Scots under the leadership of Sir James Stewart, 4th Lord Ochiltree of Killeith, landed at Baleine Cape Breton Island, probably encouraged by Sir Robert Gordon of Lochinar who was one of the first to embark in the scheme for the establishment of colonies in America, having on 8 November 1621 obtained a charter of what was called the barony of Galloway in Nova Scotia, and in 1625 Sir Robert Gordon published a tract on the subject. "Encouragements for such as shall have intention to bee Vndertakers in the new plantation...By mee Lochinvar...Edinburgh, 1625".
William Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling established the first incarnation of "New Scotland" at Port Royal. This set of British triumphs which left only Cape Sable (present-day Port La Tour) as the only major French holding in North America was not destined to last. Charles' haste to make peace with France on the terms most beneficial to him meant that the new North American gains would be bargained away in the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1632).
Ochiltree arrived at Baleine with 60 Brownists and built Fort Rosemar. It was a military colony, one that owed its origins to the exigencies of war, not a permanent agricultural settlement. Ochiltree's primary objective was to erect a military post to assert Charles' claims, and by extension the rights of the Merchant Adventures to Canada, in a crucial theatre that linked the St. Lawrence with Nova Scotia. Ochiltree's party carried a hefty supply of guns, ammunition, and heavy artillery. One of the first acts was to attack and capture a sixty-ton Portuguese barque that they found at anchor near the site of their proposed settlement. The ship was dismantled and stripped of its cannon, which were then used as additional artillery to guard Fort Rosemar. Ochiltree proceeded to capture French fishing vessels off the shores of Cape Breton.
During this time when Nova Scotia briefly became a Scottish colony, there were three battles between the Scots and the French: one at Saint John; another at Cap de Sable (present-day Port La Tour); and the other at Baleine.
Siege of Baleine
Charles Daniel arrived with 53 men and numerous friendly natives. He captured two shallops manned by fishermen from Rosemar, and imprisoned them. On September 10, 1629 he approached the fort and assured the Scots he was coming in peace. The French then attacked by bombarding the fort with cannon fire from the ships and Daniel conducting a land assault. Daniel was a harsh captor. He ordered Ochiltree and his company to demolish their fort and forced the prisoners to Grand Cibou (present-day Englishtown). There Daniel had Ochiltree and his men construct a new fort, Fort Sainte Anne. Then he sailed the prisoners to France, where Ochiltree was thrown in jail for a month.
During the French and Indian War, in the buildup to the Siege of Louisbourg (1758), the British ran a naval blockade of Louisbourg off the coast of Baleine and Scatarie Island. Similarly the French were capturing British ships. Between August 1756 and October 1757, the French captured 39 British ships. The British pursued two French ships off of Scatarie Island: the Arc-en-Ciel (52 guns) and the frigate Concorde. The two ships had crossed the Atlantic together but got separated at the Grand Banks during a storm. The most significant single prize the British captured in 1756 was the Arc-en-Ciel. The ship was captured on 12 June off Scatarie after a long chase and a five-hour gun battle. The warship had on board sixty thousand livres in specie and as many as 200 recruits. The British kept the Arc-en-Ciel in Atlantic waters for the next few years, sailing ourt of Halifax. It would form part of the fleet the British put together to attack Louisbourg in 1758.
At the same time, the Concorde initially eluded the Royal Navy on two occasions. The ship had 50 passengers made up of troops and stonemasons and 30 thousand livres in coin. On June 10 the Concorde slipped into the protected by on Scatarie Island. When it sailed out, the pursuit began anew. The Concorde headed for Port Dauphin (Englishtown) but eventually unloaded everyone and the money on board to a schooner who could safely make it to Louisbourg.
- Encovuagements, For fuch as shall have intention to bee Vnder-takers in the new plantation of Cape Briton now New Galloway in America. by mee Lochinvar. Edin. 1625 https://archive.org/stream/cihm_93615#page/n29/mode/2up
- Sarty & Knight (2003), p. 18.
- Nichols, 2010. p. xix
- Nichols, 2010. p. 132
- Nichols, 2010. p. 133
- Nichols, 2010. p. 234
- Nichols, 2010. p. 134
- Nichols, 2010. p. 135
- Johnston, 2007. p. 105-106.
- Johnston, 2007. p. 105-106.
- Johnston, A.J.B. (2007) Endgame 1758. University of Cape Breton.
- Nicholls, Andrew. Showdown at Fort Rosemar: in 1629, sixty Scots landed on Cape Breton to begin the island's first Scottish settlement. The French were not amused. The Beaver: Exploring Canada's History. June 1, 2004
- Nicholls, Andrew (2010) A Fleeting Empire: Early Stuart Britain and the Merchant Adventures to Canada. McGill-Queen's University Press.
- Sarty, Roger and Doug Knight (2003) Saint John Fortifications: 1630-1956. New Brunswick Military Heritage Series.
- External links