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French Clandestine Slave Trade Records: Finding Aid
mssHM 43974-44029  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
This collection contains the original French documents relating to a secret African slave trade expedition undertaken by the French ship Le Jeune Louis in 1824-1825.
Background
A French brig "Le Jeune Louis" under the command of the supercargo Jean-Baptiste Menard went on a secret slave-trading expedition organized by Menard and backed by Francois Fernandez of Bordeaux and others. The ship embarked from Nantes in November 1824. The crew signed an affidavit stating that the brig's official cargo, palm oil, had been taken by an American ship and that the vessel was proceeding on ballast. The brig escaped two men-of-war before it was boarded by an Engish frigate. The English officer who inspected the ship was satisfied with the captain's explanation on the nature of its cargo. In late December, Le Jeune Louis arrived at the mouth of the Niger river; Menard purchased 394 African slaves and in late April continued to Havana. Fever and dysentery claimed lives of 115 Africans. Nine more committed suicide. Captain Menard died five days after the departure from African coast on April 24, 1825. Bejaud, the ship's surgeon, took command of the cargo after the death of Menard. But he died shortly after on May 5, 1825, along with eight crew members. Francois Demouy assumed the command. Le Jeune Louis arrived to Havana in June 1825; the cargo was sold there at 250 piastres each. Six weeks later it departed for Flushing. Demouy was interrogated in Flushing and was unable to prove to the court that the purpose of his voyage was not slave trade. Ship returned to Antwerp where Jean Donnet was the shipping agent. Francois
Extent
106 pieces;
Restrictions
The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.
Availability
Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.