Common menu bar links

Fort Anne National Historic Site of Canada


Jean-Paul Mascarene

Depiction of the Fort in 1745 period Depiction of the Fort in 1745 period
© Parks Canada/I. Murphy






French Huguenot, engineer and military officer, Paul Mascarene joined the ranks of the British army in 1706. He was later commissioned a lieutenant and was at Portsmouth in 1708 when he received orders to join a force being assembled in New England to attack Canada. Two years later, Mascarene participated in the expedition, capturing Port-Royal and securing Britain’s stronghold on Nova Scotia.

During the next five years Mascarene divided his time between Boston, and the garrison in Placentia, Newfoundland, where he was in charge of an infantry company. In August 1717, he was commissioned a captain in Colonel Richard Phillips’ 40th regiment. After Philipps became governor of Nova Scotia in 1719, Mascarene returned to Port-Royal the next year as an engineer and officer both in Philipps regiment and on the governor’s Board of Ordnance. One of Mascarene’s major tasks over the next several years entailed trying to salvage the dilapidated fort at Port-Royal/Annapolis, despite the Board’s reluctance to spend any money on maintenance or repairs. Finally in 1733, the Board gave orders for extensive repairs and construction.

A pragmatist by nature, he pursued a conciliatory policy with the Acadians stating that an oath of general neutrality was necessary to keep the province safe from attack. Nevertheless, he was severely challenged by his officers and Board of Ordnance.

In 1744, Mascarene was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Annapolis Royal. In August, the fort underwent a month-long attack from Captain François du Pont Duvivier of Louisbourg and First Nations warriors. Blockaded inside the fort with his exhausted infantry and several families, Mascarene decided to delay surrender until the arrival of French reinforcements. They never came. Instead, Massachusetts Governor William Shirley sent a fleet of vessels well ahead of the French and the attackers retreated.

In 1749, Governor Edward Cornwallis, contrary to Mascarene’s approach, demanded that the Acadians take an unequivocal oath of allegiance to the British crown. Unable to force compliance, Cornwallis did not pursue the issue for the remainder of his governorship. In 1751, he sent Mascarene to New England to renew the 1726 treaty with First Nations peoples. Although he corresponded with friends in Annapolis for several years, Mascarene never returned to Nova Scotia.