From the desk of Stephen White....
about some deportation ships...
[Having seen a statement on the Internet that two ships deporting the Acadians were unseaworthy, Stephen White comments as follows:].. that the two ships that sank were unseaworthy is highly questionable, because I believe that there is no evidence to that effect. Indeed, the Duke William had just crossed the Atlantic in the opposite direction, carrying troops, and it is highly unlikely that the British would have transported troops in vessels that were known to have been unseaworthy. Rather, the sinking of the Duke William and the Violet may more readily be attributed to bad timing. The North Atlantic is difficult to cross at certain times of the year, because of storms. According to an article by Earl Lockerby in the Cahiers de la Société historique acadienne (vol. XXXII , pp. 4-39), the British had forborne from deporting the inhabitants of Île St-Jean in 1745 because doing so after the end of September was deemed to be too late in the year for the successful execution of such a project (p. 13). In 1758, however, they went ahead with the expulsion, even though it meant sending out transports much later than that. The Duke William and the Violet only left the coast of Cape Breton Island at the end of November. It did not really matter how "seaworthy" those ships were; they were being sent out into a sea that few ships at the time could be guaranteed to cross safely. Another thing I should point out is the fact that there were actually three ships lost in the expulsion of 1758. The third was the Ruby, which went aground in the Azores, with the loss of about two thirds of her passengers.