PADANUQUES, JACQUES, chief of the Micmacs of Île Royale (Cape Breton Island) in the middle of the 18th century; killed by the English in Boston, Massachusetts, in May 1744.
Jacques Padanuques’s name appears in an important document concerning the war between the English and the Micmacs in Nova Scotia: “Motifs des sauvages mikmaques et marichites de continuer la guerre contre les Anglais depuis la dernière paix” (“Motives of the Micmac and Marichite Indians for continuing the war against the English since the last peace”). This document, written by Pierre Maillard, missionary to the Micmacs of Île Royale, states that in May 1744 “a certain Danao or David, an English privateer, having craftily hoisted the French flag in the Fronsac channel [Canso Strait], through a French turncoat whom he had as an interpreter induced the chief of the Indians of Île Royale, called Jacques Padanuques, to board his ship with all his family; he took him to Boston, where Padanuques was thrown into a dungeon as soon as he was set ashore; he was withdrawn from it only to be smothered on the ship on which they said that they had had him put solely to return him to Île Royale.” The document adds that Padanuques’s son was kept as a hostage, despite the fact that the Micmacs handed over prisoners for his liberation. In 1750 this son was still a prisoner, and subsequently nothing more was heard of him.
Jacques Padanuques’s existence is not confirmed by any other document. Moreover the American historian Samuel Drake casts doubt upon the authenticity of the events reported in Maillard’s document, since he could find no trace of the persons mentioned in it. It is true that the capture of an Indian chief by Bostonians at the opening of Anglo-French hostilities in the War of the Austrian Succession was in itself commonplace, considering the long tradition of Indian raids in the region about Boston and the exasperation they created in the Anglo-American colonies, whose leaders awarded bounties for Indian scalps. It is possible therefore that this particular seizure was remembered in Boston only as the capture of some unknown Indian. In fact the propagandistic intention behind the document in which Padanuques’s name appears is of greater historical interest than the list of outrages enumerated in it. Indeed, the “Motives . . . for continuing the war” constitutes a typical example of the attitude which excuses the atrocities of one’s own side by evoking the crimes committed by the adversary.
The document in question also mentions a crime that was, to say the least, spectacular: the infecting by contaminated blankets of more than 200 Micmacs during 1746. No other record of this criminal act is to be found anywhere, but Beamish Murdoch* wrote in the 19th century that in this same year of 1746, at the time of the disaster which struck the expedition led by the Duc d’Anville [La Rochefoucauld], the French soldiers “were stricken with scorbutic fevers and dysentery; upon coming into contact with them the Indians contracted these maladies and died in great numbers.” The coincidence is disturbing.
Must one conclude that both Padanuques’s murder and the epidemic were products of Maillard’s imagination? Only one thing is certain: his contemporaries (Thomas Pichon*, Jean-Louis de Raymond*, Michel Le Courtois* de Surlaville) are unanimous in not questioning them. These authors also agree that the war between the English and the Micmacs was brought about more or less directly by the French government.
Derniers jours de l’Acadie (Du Boscq de Beaumont), 248–62. Pichon, Lettres et mémoires. Casgrain, Les Sulpiciens en Acadie, 435–44. S. G. Drake, A particular history of the five years’ French and Indian war in New England and parts adjacent . . . (Albany, 1870), 41–44, 132. Johnson, Apôtres ou agitateurs, 105–28. McLennan, Louisbourg (1918), 65–67, 424–25. Murdoch, History of Nova-Scotia, II, 27–125. E. A. Hutton, “The Micmac Indians of Nova Scotia to 1834” (unpublished ma thesis, Dalhousie University, Halifax, 1961).