Library and Archives Canada has acquired a two-part manuscript diary about the 1758 siege of Louisbourg in Cape Breton.
The siege, a substantial battle of the Seven Years’ War, ended the French colonial era in Atlantic Canada, and contributed to France’s loss of Quebec City in 1759. The loss of Louisbourg, Quebec City and Montreal in 1760 led to the 1763 Treaty of Paris when France formally ceded Canada to Britain.
“Our Government is pleased to have acquired this historically important manuscript diary, as it provides a rare glimpse, from a French perspective, into one of the most important events in Canada’s history,” said the Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.
The two-part diary, totalling about 180 pages, was written by an unknown French infantry officer from the “Régiment de Cambis” who witnessed the events during the summer of 1758. The diary’s first part details the siege, defense and capture of Louisbourg from the witness’ point of view. The second part describes the aftermath of the French surrender on the troops and more specifically, on the fate of “Régiment de Cambis”, which was held in captivity in England until 1759. These singular, original documents will greatly enrich Library and Archives Canada’s collection related to these events.
The item was acquired for a total of about Can$50,000, including insurance, transportation and auction house fees, at an auction held by Sotheby’s in New York yesterday.