THOMAS, JEAN, illegal fur-trader and instigator of the first Indian revolt against the French in Acadia; b. probably in France; fl. 1635.
In 1635 Thomas obtained permission from Cardinal Richelieu to fish for cod on the Grand Banks, but was expressly forbidden to engage in any sort of trade with the Indians. He hired the 150-ton vessel Saint-Pierre at Brouage, loading her with both salt and wine as well as regular supplies for the trip. Despite the restrictions placed on his actions by Richelieu, Thomas went to the Canseau (Canso) area and began trading with the Micmacs for furs. According to a charge later laid by Nicolas Le Creux Du Breuil, commander of Isaac de Razilly’s Fort Saint-François at Canseau, Thomas incited the Indians through talk and plying them with wine to attack and pillage the fort on 31 July 1635. Once word of this affair reached Commander Razilly at La Hève, he instructed Capt. Bernard Marot to capture Thomas and this was done. Two inquiries were held that same summer at La Hève, with testimony being given both by residents at Canseau and members of the Thomas crew. Soon afterwards Thomas was sent to France and placed in the prison at La Rochelle, being released on bail 27 Sept. 1635. Nothing further is known of Capt. Jean Thomas whose stay in Canada was short but turbulent.