Paul Laurent was a Chief of the La Have Mi’kmaq tribe. He was aligned with Father Le Loutre throughout Father Le Loutre’s War. The British killed his father when he was younger, which he tried to avenge by killing one of Jean-Baptiste Cope’s prisoners.
Peace Proposal (1754)Edit
He also sought to support Le Loutre, John Hamilton, and Mi’kmaq attempts to have the British acknowledge their land claims early in 1755. When this initiative was rejected and Fort Beausejour fell, Laurent joined Father Manach and Charles Deschamps de Boishébert’s armed resistance against the British.
Battle at St. Aspinquid's ChapelEdit
Tradition indicates that during the French and Indian War, Lahave Chief Paul Laurent and a party of eleven invited Shubenacadie Chief Jean-Baptiste Cope and five others to St. Aspinquid’s Chapel in present-day Point Pleasant Park to negotiate peace with the British. Chief Paul Laurent had just arrived in Halifax after surrendering to the British at Fort Cumberland on 29 February 1760. In early March 1760, the two parties met and engaged in armed conflict. Chief Paul Larent's party killed Cope and two others. Chief Cope’s party killed five of the British supporters. Shortly after Cope's death, Mi'kmaq chiefs signed a peace treaty in Halifax on 10 March 1760. Chief Paul Laurent signed on behalf of the Lahave tribe and a new chief, Claude Rene, signed on behalf of the Shubenacadie tribe. (During this time of surrender and treaty making, tensions among the various factions who fought the British were evident. For example, a few months after the death of Cope, the Mi'kmaq militia and Acadian militias made the rare decisions to continue to fight despite losing the support of the French priests who were encouraging surrender.)
- Johnson (1974). sfnp error: no target: CITEREFJohnson1974 (help)
- Awalt basis his account on the basis stories from 17 separate Mi'kmaq accounts from 11 different locations in Nova Scotia (See Don Awalt.The Mi’kmaq and Point Pleasant Park. 2004 Archived 2014-03-20 at the Wayback Machine).
- See Murdoch (1866), p. 385
- None of the oral accounts give the exact date of the battle. Awalt is left to speculate about the date of the battle, which he asserts might be in May 1758 just before the siege of Louisbourg. The evidence contradicts this assertion and suggests that the date was more likely March 1760. The two main players of the conflict - Paul Laurant and Jean-Baptiste Cope - both could not have been in Halifax in 1758 as indicated. Laurent was not seeking peace in 1758. Throughout the war Laurent fought the British and did not surrender until 29 February 1760 at Fort Cumberland. The only evidence of Chief Paul being in Halifax after 1755 is when he travels there over the following weeks to sign a peace treaty on March 10, 1760 (See Murdoch (1866), p. 385; also see March 10, 1750. Chief Paul and Governor Lawrence. Andrew Browns Manuscripts. British Museum. Nova Scotia Archives as cited by Daniel Paul. We were not the Savages). Further, Cope could not have died before the Siege of Louisbourg because French Officer Chevalier de Johnstone indicated that he saw Cope at Miramichi after the Siege of Louisbourg when Johnstone was en route to Quebec (See Johnstone, p. 46).
- See Murdoch (1866), p. 385
- Daniel N. Paul erroneously asserts that "the record shows Cope was still alive in the 1760s, which indicates he may have lived to a ripe old age" (See Daniel Paul). The last record of Cope is by Johnstone (1758). The Chief of the Shebenacadie was replaced in 1760, indicating that Cope was dead.
- Paul Laurent's biographer Michael Johnston notes that another chief from La Heve signed another treaty with the English on 9 Nov. 1761.