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good-cheer

Order of Good Cheer

The Order of the Good Time

Celebrating its 400th anniversary in 2005 the Order of Good Times / L'Ordre de Le Bon Temps is Nova Scotia's Oldest Order of Chivalry. The Order today is unique in many ways: it collects no initiation fee, charges no dues and never meets formally.

As of 2007 the honorary Grand Master of the Order is the Lt. Governor of the Canadian Province of Nova Scotia, the Right Honorable Mayann E. Francis. Significantly among many other notable Canadians past Grand Masters have included Prime Ministers and Governors General of Canada acting as representatives of the Kings and Queens of the Commonwealth.

On the 11th of May 2001 the Speaker of the House in Nova Scotia Canada, the Hon. Murray Scott reaffirmed official recognition of the Order in Canada as grant of the Province under the custodianship of the Nova Scotia Ministry of Heritage. According to resolution 1111, as a minimum condition of membership a pledge to visit the Canadian Province Nova Scotia must be made. The Order is presented in recognition of individuals valued by the Province of Nova Scotia and or in Honour of the Acadian tradition in Canada.

Membership: By invitation of the Canadian Province of Nova Scotia or by a Chevalier / Member of the Order

History of the Order

It was after an impossible winter at Ste Croix Island where many of the first French settlers in North America died of scurvy that the French fur trading colony relocated across the Baie Française (Bay of Fundy), settling the following year in a location they named Port-Royale.

L'Ordre Du Bon-Temps, or in English, the Order of Good Times, was founded at Port-Royale at the suggestion of Samuel de Champlain and was charted under the Royal auspices the Baron de Poutrincourt and Pierre du Gua Sieur de Monts. The Order was praticaly organized by the first Chief Steward Marc Lescarbot.

The Baron de Poutrincourt, Intendant to the King of France in North America, had been on an expedition on the Atlantic coast to the coast of present-day Maine, and on the occasion of his return to the fort at Port Royale the Order was founded at a glorious reception, the preparations of which reportedly took hold of everybody remaining at Port Royal.

His return on the 14th of November, 1606, is a date to remember in the annals of the New World, as the establishment of the first North American Order of Chivalry and the birth of the Nevoux Noblise of New France. The feasting of the Order was a weekly occurrence that was continued throughout the winter until the last of March only to recommence annually in the Fall.

The First Toast of the Order made by the Baron de Poutrincourt...

                          '  "We meet tonight to witness an event.
                       That will, I pray go ringing down the years.
                        At marking the sure founding of the Order,
               Which God and France shall ever serve as beacon to our goal"'

Quoting Lescarbot, Rameau says: "Poutrincourt returned from his excursion on the 14th November, 1606; Lescarbot, who was always full of ideas, and who knew, no doubt, the useful part to be obtained by exterior demonstrations, foresaw to prepare for his honor a quasi- triumphal return from his voyage; Nature itself has already furnished the principle [sic] initiative, and advantage of it had been taken, everywhere were decorations and garlands of natural green; a magnificent forest hid the rusticity of wooden buildings and huts; even a theatre was built where allegoric scenes were represented; there was a feast, a discharge of musketry, and as much noise as could be made by some fifty men, joined by a few Indians, whose families served as spectators." (Rameau: Une Colonie Feodale, v. 1. p 33)

In 1606 there were less than 70 men at Port Royale. Lescarbot states, that in total about 50 Frenchmen, joined by the Indians, participated in the welcoming home of Poutrincourt and the first gathering of the Order. However only fifteen men of birth are recognized as founding the order as they were the only those with whom Champlain and the Baron de Poutrincourt would naturally care to dine. The guests of the Order likely sat at other tables, getting probably as good dinners as the rest, but without being recognized as official members of the Order.

Likely everyone at the settlement took part in the staging of, “Le Théâtre de Neptune en la Nouvelle-France,”, written by Lescarbot and performed at the first celebration Order marking the first theatrical performance in North America.

Founding Chevaliers of the Order

The founding Chevaliers of the Order were those who normally dined at Sieur Poutrincourt’s table. The main table of Poutrincourt, in the great hall of the fort was reserved for fifteen gentlemen of birth who are credited as the founding Matries d’Hotel or members of the Order and were known as the The Nevoux Noblise of New France.

According to official documents - " Baron Poutrincourt was, no doubt, the Grand Knight of the Order, followed by Champlain, Lescarbot, Louis Hébert, Charles de Biencourt, Claude de La Tour, Charles de La Tour, Daniel Hay, the surgeon, Champdore, leaving six unknown, but, the records note that Sagamore Membertou was always treated as their equal, it is quite certain he was at that table, leaving five to be accounted for, if documents to that effect can be found.

Lescarbot's account of the Order: is best translated in Murdoch's (v. 1, p 34), in which is described the gathering of the Order, "There were 15 guests (at Poutrincourt's table), each of whom in his turn, became steward and caterer of the day. At the dinner, the steward, with napkin on shoulder, staff of office in hand, and the collar of the order round his neck, led the van. The other guests in procession followed, each bearing a dish. After grace in the evening, he resigned the insignia to his successor, and they drank to each other in a cup of wine. It was the steward's duty, to look to supplies, and he would go hunt or fish a day or two before his turn came, and add some dainty to the ordinary fare. During the winter they had fowl and game in abundance, supplied by the Indians and by their own exertions. These feasts were often attended by Indians of all ages and both sexes, sometimes twenty or thirty being present. The Sagamore, or chief, Membertou, the greatest Sagamore of the land, and other chiefs, when there, were treated as guests and equals."

Champlain's account of the Order: "We spent this winter very joyously and of good times, due to the L’Odre de l Bon Temps that I established here, which each person finds useful for their health and more beneficial than any sort of medicine that we could have used. The Order was presented as a Chain of office that we placed with some small ceremony, at the neck of one of our people, charging him that day with going hunting; the next day we gave it to another and thus consequently: all who wished to try would do their best and bring the most beautiful hunt: We don’t find it half bad , as well as the Indians who were with us" Voyages of Champlain: 1613

Description of the order of Good Temps: Samuel de Champlain in: BIGGAR, H. P. (éd.) The Works of Samuel de Champlain: flight. I, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1922, p. 447-448. (Machine Translation)

"The first winters of the French in Acadie were very painful and coutèrent the life with several men. One has to only think of the first winter in theSainte-Croix Island in 1604-1605 when more than one about thirty men of the company the sior Mons perished of the scurvy. The winters with Port-Royal were less rigorous, but nevertheless long and annoying.

In order to brighten environment and to create a great mind of body between the members of the staff of the sior of Poutrincourt, lord of Port-Royal, Samuel de Champlain had the idea to create "the order of Good-Time" during the winter 1606-1607. In turn, the members of the small elite of Port-Royal were to prepare a gastronomical meal for their fellow-members, meal fruit of their hunting and their fishing in the rich person acadian natural environment who abounded in game and fish of various species. From time to time, the sagamo Membertou and its close relations were also invited to share the feast during which the person in charge for the evening entered ceremoniously the principal room of the Dwelling while carrying to the neck the collar of the Order that it tended to the future host of the next evening. In the current rebuilt Dwelling, today a national historical place of Canada, one can easily imagine the environment of these evenings. The government of the province of News-Scotland gave again life with the order of the Good Time and it is possible to become member about it "

Voir description of l'ordre de Bon Temps:Samuel de Champlain dans : BIGGAR, H. P. (éd.) The Works of Samuel de Champlain : vol. I, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1922, p. 447-448.

"Les premiers hivers des Français en Acadie furent très pénibles et coutèrent la vie à plusieurs hommes. On n'a qu’à penser au premier hiver à l’Île Sainte-Croix en 1604-1605 où plus d’une trentaine d’hommes de la compagnie du sieur de Mons périrent du scorbut. Les hivers à Port-Royal furent moins rigoureux, mais quand même longs et ennuyants.

Afin d’égayer l’ambiance et créer un plus grand esprit de corps entre les membres de l’état-major du sieur de Poutrincourt, seigneur de Port-Royal, Samuel de Champlain eut l’idée de créer « l’ordre de Bon-Temps » durant l’hiver 1606-1607. Tour à tour, les membres de la petite élite de Port-Royal devaient préparer un repas gastronomique pour leurs confrères, repas fruit de leur chasse et de leur pêche dans le riche environnement naturel acadien qui abondait en gibier et en poissons de différentes espèces. De temps en temps, le sagamo Membertou et ses proches étaient aussi invités à partager le festin au cours duquel le responsable de la soirée entrait cérémonieusement dans la salle principale de l’Habitation en portant au cou le collier de l’Ordre qu’il tendait au futur hôte de la prochaine soirée. Dans l’actuelle Habitation reconstruite, aujourd’hui un lieu historique national du Canada, on peut facilement imaginer l’ambiance de ces soirées. Le gouvernement de la province de la Nouvelle-Écosse a redonné vie à l’ordre du Bon Temps et il est possible d’en devenir membre"

A Brief Timeline of the Order

1604~King Henry IV give a commission to Pierre du Gua, sieur de Monts, appointing him viceroy of the territory in North America lying between the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the mouth of the Hudson River.

1604 (May 8th) Seur de Monts arrived at the mouth of the LaHave River on the coast of Nova Scotia. A few days later he sailed up the Bay of Fundy and into the Annapolis Basin.

1605 ~ Pierre du Gua Sieur de Monts, Samuel de Champlain, and Baron de Poutrincourt established a colony at Port Royale.

1605 ~ first Catholic Church in North Amercia established at port Royale

1607 ~ the colony was abandoned.

1608 ~ Henry IV's Commission to Sieur de Monts "And in view of the proposition to us of Sieur de Monts, gentleman in ordinary of our chamber, and our lieutenant-general in that country, to make a settlement, on condition of our giving him means and supplies for sustaining the expense of it, it has pleased us to promise and assure him that none of our subjects but himself shall be permitted to trade in pelts and other merchandise, for the period of one year only, in the lands, regions, harbors, rivers, and highways throughout the extent of his jurisdiction: this we desire to have fulfilled." Given at Paris the seventh day of January, in the year of grace sixteen hundred and eight, and the nineteenth of our reign. Signed, HENRY...

1610(May)~ Henry IV King of France is assassinated.

1610(May)~ Son of Henry, Louis XIII succeeded to the throne of France at age nine

1610 ~ Poutrincourt returns and established the first successful settlement of Europeans in what is now Canada.

1613 ~ English colonists from Virginia captured Port Royale

1621 ~ Acadia was renamed Nova Scotia by William Alexander, who had been granted the territory by James VI/I on September 10, 1621. His attempts to colonize the region were a failure, but his royal charter gave Nova Scotia its name, coat-of-arms, and flag.

1632 ~ the colony was ceded to the French under the Treaty of St-Germain-en-Laye. Port-Royale was refounded — at Annapolis Royal, close to its former site — and Acadian colonization proceeded through the Annapolis Valley to the Chignecto Isthmus, 1654 (Aug 16th) ~ Port Royale is abandoned 1654 ~ Acadians prompted Oliver Cromwell to dispatch an occupying force in 1654.

1667 ~ The Treaty of Breda, signed by France and England marked the return of Acadia to its place among the French colonies

1713 ~ The Peace of Utrecht granted British control of Acadia, however the French retained Cape Breton Island and Prince Edward Island.

1744 ~ during King George's War the French and British again battled over Nova Scotia. The British decided to make Nova Scotia British by bringing in more settlers. Halifax was founded as a fishing port and naval station, and other towns were planned.

1754-1763 ~ During the French and Indian War, After the war Governor Charles Lawrence ordered more than 6000 Acadians deported to the American colonies.

1937 ~ Lord Tweedsmuir, Governor General of Canada installed as Grand Master of "The Order of the Good Time."

1967 ~ Duke Ellington is inducted as an honorary member of the Order.

2006 ~ 400th Anniversary of the Order.

Andrew D. Merkel (18__- 19__)

Canadian Poet author and journalist and first Superintendent of the Canadian Press in Atlantic Canada described the scene of over four hundred years ago in his now famous poem ...

''"The Order of Good Cheer"

"Great torches guttered from a table set

Within the centre of the room and strewn

with winds of the forest and the sea

about a newly-opened cask of wine.

Biencourt and his guests, attired in all

The finery the voyage had allowed

Of silken doublets, breeches and trunk hose,

Supped standing, ringed about the Chief

Who squatted in his robe of beaver skin

each fortnight found the colony en fete

With baling bonfiresand far echoing song

And saw renewed the performed ritual

That singnifies The Order of Good Cheer

The merry host with stole of office decked.

The file of vayageurs with steaming foods

The march about the table of their Chief

the raillery, the laughter and the health

Drunk gaily to the morrowa president."

Description of L’Ordre du Bon Temps written by Champlain in 1613

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