Attack at Mocodome
The Attack at Mocodome (present-day Country Harbour, Nova Scotia) occurred during Father Le Loutre’s War on February 21, 1753 when two English died and six Mi'kmaq. There are differing accounts of the battle. British accounts blamed the English for the incident while the Mi'kmaq blamed the English. Regardless, the battle ended any hope for the survival of the 1752 Peace Treaty signed by the British and chief Jean-Baptiste Cope.
Despite the British Conquest of Acadia in 1710, Nova Scotia remained primarily occupied by Catholic Acadians and Mi'kmaq. By the time Cornwallis had arrived in Halifax, there was a long history of the Wabanaki Confederacy (which included the Mi'kmaq) protecting their land by killing British civilians along the New England/ Acadia border in Maine (See the Northeast Coast Campaigns 1688, 1703, 1723, 1724, 1745, 1746, 1747).
To prevent the establishment of Protestant settlements in the region, Mi'kmaq raided the early British settlements of present-day Shelburne (1715) and Canso (1720). A generation later, Father Le Loutre's War began when Edward Cornwallis arrived to establish Halifax with 13 transports on June 21, 1749. By unilaterally establishing Halifax the British were violating earlier treaties with the Mi'kmaq (1726), which were signed after Father Rale's War. The British quickly began to build other settlements. To guard against Mi'kmaq, Acadian and French attacks on the new Protestant settlements, British fortifications were erected in Halifax (1749), Bedford (Fort Sackville) (1749), Dartmouth (1750), Lunenburg (1753) and Lawrencetown (1754). There were numerous Mi'kmaq and Acadian raids on these villages such as the Raid on Dartmouth (1751).
There was a raid on those in the Dartmouth area in 1749 (See History of Dartmouth). In response to the raids, Governor Edward Cornwallis offered a bounty on the head of every Mi'kmaq. The British military paid the Rangers the same rate per scalp as the French military paid the Mi'kmaq for British scalps.
After eighteen months of inconclusive fighting, uncertainties and second thoughts began to disturb both the Mi’kmaq and the British communities. By the summer of 1751 Governor Cornwallis began a more conciliatory policy. On 16 February 1752, hoping to lay the groundwork for a peace treaty, Cornwallis repealed his 1749 scalp proclamation against the Wabanaki Confederacy. For more than a year, Cornwallis sought out Mi’kmaq leaders willing to negotiate a peace. He eventually gave up, resigned his commission and left the colony.
With a new Governor in place, Governor Peregrine Thomas Hopson, the first willing Mi’kmaq negotiator was Cope. On 22 November 1752, Cope finished negotiating a peace for the Mi’kmaq at Shubenacadie. The basis of the treaty was the one signed in Boston which closed Dummer's War (1725). Cope tried to get other Mi’kmaq chiefs in Nova Scotia to agree to the treaty but was unsuccessful. The Governor became suspicious of Cope’s actual leadership among the Mi’kmaq people. Of course, Le Loutre and the French were outraged at Cope’s decision to negotiate at all with the British.
According the two British involved in the ordeal, Connor and Grace, on February 21, 1753, nine Mi'kmaq from present-day Antigonish (Nartigouneche) in canoes attacked their schooner Dunk from Canso, Nova Scotia which had a crew of four at present-day Country Harbour, Nova Scotia. The Mi'kmaq fired on them and drove them toward the shore. Other natives joined in and boarded the schooner, forcing them to run their vessel into an inlet. The two English men witnessed the Mi'kmaq scalp and kill two of their crew. The Mi'kmaq took the two others captive for seven weeks. After seven weeks in captivity, on April 8, the two English men killed a Mi'kmaq woman and child and then four other Mi'kmaq men. Afterward, they managed their escape.
According to Mi’kmaq accounts, the English schooner first went to Jedore and robbed the Mi’kmaq of forty barrels of provisions. Mi’kmaq then apprehended the four English men, who, in turned, killed the Mi’kmaq people for scalp money. The English schooner accidentally was shipwrecked, some of the crew drowned. They reported two men died of illness while the two others, despite the Mi'kmaq hospitality shown them, killed the six Mi'kmaq for the scalp bounty. In response, Mi'kmaq natives were reported to have gone to Halifax to complain about how to keep their provisions safe during fishing season.
A French officer at Louisbourg did not believe the Mi'kmaq account of events. If Connor and Grace were only motivated by scalp money as the Mi'kmaq asserted, it is unclear who would have paid them for Mi'kmaq scalps given Governor Cornwallis had stopped the bounty on Mi'kmaq scalps the previous year.
In response, on the night of April 21, under the leadership of Jean-Baptiste Cope and the Mi'kmaq Attack at Jeddore in which the Mi'kmaq attacked an English schooner. There were nine English men and one Acadian who was the British interpreter. The Mi'kmaq killed the English and let the Acadian named Anthony Casteel off at Port Toulouse, where the Mi'kmaq sank the schooner after looting it. Cope's peace treaty was ultimately rejected by most of the other Mi'kmaq leaders. Cope burned the treaty six months after he signed it. Despite the collapse of peace on the eastern shore, the British did not formally renounce the Treat of 1752 until 1756.
- Stephen Patterson reports the attack happened on the coast between Country Harbour and Tor Bay (1998. p. 97); Whitehead reports the location was a little harbour to the westward of Torbay, "Martingo", "port of Mocodome" (p. 137); Beamish Murdoch identifies Mocodome as present-day "Country Harbour" (A History of Nova-Scotia, or Acadie, Volume 1 p. 410).
- John Reid.“Amerindian Power in the Early Modern Northeast: A Reappraisal.” in Essays on Northeastern North America: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008) ; Grenier, John. The Far Reaches of Empire. War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2008.
- Grenier, John. The Far Reaches of Empire. War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2008; Thomas Beamish Akins. History of Halifax, Brookhouse Press. 1895. (2002 edition). p 7
- Wicken, p. 181; Griffith, p. 390; Also see http://www.northeastarch.com/vieux_logis.html
- John Grenier. The Far Reaches of Empire: War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. Oklahoma University Press.
- Grenier pp. 154–155. For the Raids on Dartmouth see the Diary of John Salusbury (diarist): Expeditions of Honour: The Journal of John Salusbury in Halifax; also see A genuine narrative of the transactions in Nova Scotia since the settlement, June 1749, till August the 5th, 1751 [microform] : in which the nature, soil, and produce of the country are related, with the particular attempts of the Indians to disturb the colony / by John Wilson. Also see http://www.blupete.com/Hist/NovaScotiaBk1/Part5/Ch07.htm
- Thomas Akins. History of Halifax, Brookhouse Press. 1895. (2002 edition). p 19; While the French military hired the Mi'kmaq to gather British scalps, the British military hired rangers to gather French and Mi'kmaq scalps. The regiments of both the French and British militaries were not skilled at frontier warfare, while the Mi'kmaq and Rangers were. British officers Cornwallis, Winslow, and Amherst both expressed dismay over the tactics of the rangers and the Mi'kmaq (See Grenier, p.152, Faragher, p. 405;, Hand, p.99).
- Patterson, p. 134
- Plank, 1996, p.34
- Historian William Wicken notes that there is controversy about this assertion. While there are claims that Cope made the treaty on behalf of all the Mi'kmaq, there is no written documentation to support this assertion (See William Wicken. Mi'kmaq Treaties on Trial: History, Land, and Donald Marshall Jr. University of Toronto Press. 2002. p. 184).
- For a detailed discussion of the treaty see William Wicken. Mi'kmaq Treaties on Trial: History, Land, and Donald Marshall Jr. University of Toronto Press. 2002. pp. 183-189.
- Plank, 2001, p.135
- Diary of Anthony Casteel; Atkins. Public Documents, pp. 694-695
- Diary of Anthony Casteel
- Diary of Anthony Casteel, p. 118
- Whitehead, p. 137; Patterson, 1998, p 99
- Whitehead, p. 137; Patterson, 1994, p. 135
- Plank, 1996, p.33-34
- Patterson, 1994, p. 138
- Primary Sources
- Diary of Anthony Casteel
- Atkins. Selections from the Public Documents of the province of Nova Scotia, Connor and Grace account pp. 694-695
- Secondary Sources
- Faragher, John. Great and Noble Scheme. New York: Norton, 2005.
- Grenier, John. The Far Reaches of Empire. War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2008. pp. 154–155
- Griffiths, Naomi Elizabeth Saundaus. From Migrant to Acadian: A North American border people, 1604-1755. Montreal, Kingston: McGill-Queen's UP, 2005.
- Landry, Peter. The Lion & The Lily. Vol. 1. Victoria: Trafford, 2007.
- Murdoch, Beamish. A History of Nova Scotia, Or Acadia. Vol 2. LaVergne: BiblioBazaar, 2009. pp. 166–167
- Patterson, Stephen E. 1744-1763: Colonial Wars and Aboriginal Peoples. In Phillip Buckner and John Reid (eds.) The Atlantic Region to Conderation: A History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 1994. pp. 125–155
- Patterson, Stephen E. "Indian-White Relations in Nova Scotia, 1749-61: A Study in Political Interaction." Buckner, P, Campbell, G. and Frank, D. (eds). The Acadiensis Reader Vol 1: Atlantic Canada Before Confederation. 1998. pp. 105–106.
- Geoffrey Plank, “The Two Majors Cope: the boundaries of Nationality in Mid-18th Century Nova Scotia”, Acadiensis, XXV, 2 (Spring 1996), pp. 18–40.
- Rompkey, Ronald, ed. Expeditions of Honour: The Journal of John Salusbury in Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1749-53. Newark: U of Delaware P, Newark, 1982.
- John Clarence Webster. The career of the Abbé Le Loutre in Nova Scotia (Shediac, N.B., 1933),
- Wicken, William. Mi'kmaq Treaties on Trial: History, Land, and Donald Marshall Junior. University of Toronto Press. 2002.
- Whitehead, Ruth. The Oldman Told Us.