Jean Paul Mascarene (1685-1760) was born in Castres, Languedoc, France, the son Jean Mascarene (1660-1698), a Huguenot (French Protestant) who was forced to flee from religious persecution in France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV in October 1684. Paul Mascarene was naturalized as a British citizen and in 1708 commissioned a second lieutenant in Lord Montjoy's Regiment of the British Army. In 1708, he was ordered to Boston, Massachusetts. At Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, in 1710, he was promoted to captain of a grenadier company in Colonel Shadrack Walter's Regiment. The Nova Scotia career of Paul Mascarene spanned a period of time from 1710-1752, but for the years until 1740 he moved between Canso and Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia and Boston, Massachusetts, where he married Elizabeth Perry in 1714 (d.1729). The Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 brought a time of peace between Britain and France, and as a result of the Treaty, Britain acquired Nova Scotia or Acadia, Newfoundland, and an area around Hudson Bay. In 1717, Mascarene was commissioned a captain in the 40th Regiment of Foot and appointed an engineer to the Board of Ordnance. Colonel Richard Phillips, the newly appointed Governor of Nova Scotia, and Paul Mascarene both arrived at Annapolis Royal in 1720, and Mascarene was named to the Governor's Council as chief engineer. For the next year he conducted a survey of the coast of Nova Scotia and strengthened the fortifications at Canso and Annapolis Royal. In 1725, he was sent to New England to represent Nova Scotia in peace negotiations with the coastal Indians of New England, but returned in 1729. Except for a brief period in 1732, 1735-1736, and 1738, Mascarene remained in Boston until 1740 when he hurried back to Annapolis Royal on the suicide of Lieutenant-Governor Lawrence Armstrong, and as senior councilor assumed the presidency of the Council. With this event, the most important period of his service in Nova Scotia began. In 1743, fearing that war with France would come eventually, Mascarene determined to do three things: win the neutrality or even assistance of the Acadian population, which he succeeded in doing; interest New England in securing the safety of the colony; and awaken the interest of the Duke of Newcastle and the Board of Trade in the fate of the colony and the neglected state of fortifications at Canso and Annapolis Royal. He found a friend and supporter in Governor William Shirley of Massachusetts who sent troop reinforcements during the attacks of 1744 and 1745 that were successfully repulsed.
Halifax was founded in 1749 and Paul Mascarene left the Colony in July 1751 and returned to New England to renew the 1726 Treaty with the Eastern Indians. He did not return to Nova Scotia, but remained in Boston with his family. In 1758, he was promoted to the rank of major-general in the British Army, but was too old to serve in the upcoming campaign and died at his home on 22 January 1760.
John Mascarene (1722-1779), the son of Jean Paul Mascarene and Elizabeth Perry, was born in 1722 at Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, and died at Boston on 24 September 1779. He was appointed comptroller of customs at Salem, Massachusetts, in 1767, and during the American Revolution he remained loyal to Britain. His widow, Margaret, was the daughter of Edward Holyoke, President of Harvard College.
The Mascarene Family Papers are comprised almost entirely of correspondence, although a number of legal documents are interspersed among the letters. Many of the papers of John Mascarene relate to his administrative role in the management of the Acadians on Nova Scotia and the British military at Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia during King George's War (1744-1748). The Papers include the letter book kept by Paul Mascarene while at Annapolis Royal, which begins on 7 June 1740 and ends on 26 July 1743, and contains many letters from Mascarene to his family. The letter book is followed by, An Elegy Written by my Grandfather on his Life while in the Prison of the Hotel de Ville in the Year 1687, relating to his imprisonment and banishment from France. Among the letters and copies of letters are the following: letters between Boston and Annapolis Royal; copies of correspondence to Governor Armstrong; correspondence with James Perkins, Mascarene's son-in-law, and other members of the Perkins family; many letters and copies of letters between Paul Mascarene and his son John Mascarene regarding the French and Indian struggles, the Cape Breton Expedition, and business matters; several letters written in French; a group of letters from Mrs. Foster Hutchinson (Margaret Mascarene) from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to her sister-in-law Mrs. John Mascarene (Margaret Holyoke) in Salem, Massachusetts, June 1780-October 1792, also from a grandson William Snelling, March 1837, and an unmarried daughter Abigail Hutchinson, September 1839; and other correspondence. Legal documents include; The Last Will and Testament of John Mascarene, 23 October 1752; Last Will and Testament of Paul Mascarene, 19 June 1754; Commission of Paul Mascarene in Colonel Philips Regiment of Foot, 1727 (part of the document is missing); and several other items of a legal nature.
Of note for loyalist, family, and women's history are the letters from Margaret Hutchinson (nee Mascarene) from Halifax, Nova Scotia, which describe the problems faced in adjusting to life in Nova Scotia, distress at being separated from her friends and at the loss of her personal possessions.
Arrangement: The Papers have not been microfilmed in chronological order, although in more than one instance a sequence of letters falls within a broad time period.