Rene's Refusal to Return to Canada


By now you know that there are two theories as to where Rene Cossitt was born.  Whether it be in Canada or France, we do know that eventually he was sent to Connecticut as a prisoner of the British.  It is during this time that he probably met Ruth Elizabeth Porter, a resident of Hartford County. 

Rene was a prisoner due to the fact that he was in the middle of Queen Anne's War, a conflict between Queen Anne of England and the Sun King, monarchs vying for the vast new territories in North America.  The Sun King was sponsoring settlers, from France in the Canadian north, accompanied by the apparatus of Frenchness--Jesuits, nuns, French soldiers bent on occupying the territory and making Catholics out of the local Indians.  By the time that Rene got to New England, Protestantism was well established.  The two groups, Puritans of English origin and Canadian French clashed continuously along the borders of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.

By 1713 Rene had been a prisoner for about a year when a group of captured Frenchmen was assembled in Massachusetts to be marched off to Montreal to rejoin their Francophone world.  It is here that Rene Cossitt emerges in the diaries and reports of a Colonel Partridge, the exasperated official in charge of the exchange.

Rene refused to be exchanged!

Partridge writes to Governor Dudley in Montreal of two recalcitrant Frenchmen "who will not be persuaded to go, neither by persuasion nor force, except that they be carried, viz, Cossitt & Le Fevre.  The Capt. hath used all means with them, especially Cosset, in so much that I believe if they go in to the woods together, they will murder one another before they get to Canada.  Cosset positively refusing to go, Chusing rather to Remayne a prisoner all of his days, as he saith, rather than go with him.  The Captaine vehemently mad with him, as he saith, will kill him & its thought by their violent treatment one towards another that murder has been done if other men had not prevented itt.  They cannot speak together but some fall to blows. . ."