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.
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
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
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.
Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department.
For more information, contact Reader Services.