LAURENT, PAUL, Micmac warrior; d. probably at La Hève (La Have, N.S.), sometime after 1763.
Since Paul Laurent spoke English, it may be supposed that he had shared his father’s captivity in Boston, Massachusetts, where the latter was hanged at an unknown date. Nothing is known about his return to Acadia, but between 1753 and 1763 he turns up in different places all over Nova Scotia. He seems to have been connected with Abbé Jean-Louis Le Loutre*’s mission at Shubenacadie.
One of the earliest mentions of Paul Laurent occurs in the diary of Anthony Casteel, an English prisoner. On 12 June 1753 (o.s.), at Baie-Verte (N.B.), Laurent offered to pay Casteel’s ransom, which had been set at 300 livres, intending to scalp him and thus avenge his father’s death. Casteel was saved by a French officer and was finally ransomed by an Acadian named James Morrice (Jacques Maurice). Then, adds Casteel, the other Micmacs “went out of the house and shoved Paul Laurent out before them and used him very ill.”
In January 1755 Laurent was at the Chignecto isthmus, where he was involved in the peace negotiations in which Le Loutre engaged with Captain John Hussey, the commandant of Fort Lawrence (near Amherst, N.S.). Laurent was sent on a mission to Halifax with the chief Algimou, but on the way he was stopped at Cobequid (near Truro, N.S.) by Abbé Jean Manach, who detained Algimou and sent Laurent on alone to Halifax, apparently with special instructions. On 12 Feb. 1755 the Nova Scotia Council declared that the Micmacs’ demands were exorbitant, and no agreement was signed. The previous summer the council had refused Le Loutre almost identical peace conditions.
After the fall of Fort Beaséjour (near Sackville, N.B.) in July 1755, Laurent apparently joined Abbé Manach’s group of Micmacs and took part in the Acadians’ resistance, under Charles Deschamps* de Boishébert’s command. Early in 1760, after a capitulation had been signed by Manach, Laurent accompanied the missionary to Fort Cumberland (previously Fort Beauséjour). The commandant of the fort then sent him to Halifax, probably to take the announcement of peace.
In 1762 Paul Laurent was captain of the Micmacs from La Hève, whose chief, Francis Mius, had signed a peace treaty with the English on 9 Nov. 1761. One event suggests that Laurent probably enjoyed great prestige among his people: in July 1762 Abbé Pierre Maillard, whom the English had appointed the government agent to the Indians, arranged for negotiations with the Micmacs from La Hève and Cape Sable, Nova Scotia. But illness prevented him from being present; during the talks an Indian woman committed a theft, and in the missionary’s absence the authorities immediately turned to Paul Laurent to dispense justice in this delicate situation. After this date the documents say nothing directly concerning Laurent. He may have accompanied the chiefs from La Hève, including Francis Mius, when they appeared before the governor and council on 22 Aug. 1763 to obtain the appointment of a successor to Maillard, who had died the previous year. If this is so, Laurent must have died sometime after 1763 among his tribe.
Laurent, who had been a fierce enemy of the English, became peaceful to an exemplary degree after the missionaries advised the Micmacs in the autumn of 1759 to make peace. For this reason his career is particularly interesting.
PAC, MG 11, Nova Scotia B, 7, pp.57, 64; 8, pp.2–7; 9, pp.47, 166–67; 10, pp.2, 13–20, 26–42, 49, 148, 160, 166, 171, 182, 184–85, 217, 220, 230, 236, 278, 282, 288; 12, pp.6, 47, 129, 134, 139, 145, 153, 158, 176, 178, 188, 189, 198–99, 209; 13, pp.95, 188, 216; 14, pp.13, 15, 107, 170, 181. [Anthony Casteel], “Anthony Casteel’s journal,” Coll. doc. inédits Canada et Amérique, II (1889), 111–26. E. A. Hutton, “The Micmac Indians of Nova Scotia to 1834” (unpublished ma thesis, Dalhousie University, Halifax, 1961). “Indians in Acadie A.D. 1760,” Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., 1st ser., X (1809), 115–16. N.S. Archives, I, 210, 215–19, 237, 694–98. Murdoch, History of Nova-Scotia, II, 222, 257, 407, 419, 431. Albert David, “L’apôtre des Micmacs,” Revue de l’université d’Ottawa, V (1935), 49–82, 425–52; VI (1936), 22–40. R. O. MacFarlane, “British Indian policy in Nova Scotia to 1760,” CHR, XIX (1938), 154–67.