Inventory of the The Vaudreuil Papers (French Colonial Manuscripts), 1740-1753
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Inventory of the The Vaudreuil Papers (French Colonial Manuscripts), 1740-1753The Huntington Library
San Marino, California
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Title: The Vaudreuil Papers (French Colonial Manuscripts),
Date (inclusive): 1740-1753
Creator: The Vaudreuil Papers (French Colonial Manuscripts)
Extent: 383 pieces
Repository: The Huntington Library
San Marino, California 91108
The provenance of the Vaudreuil Papers (383 pieces) before the year 1756, when they came into the possession of Lord Loudoun, was not known at the Huntington Library until last year. It is supposed that Loudoun himself did not know. In a letter of his addressed to the Earl of Holdernesse (Aug. 16, 1757) he says in part: ...before I left London, I received from Mr. Pichon, commonly called Mr. Tyrell (who was Mor. Vaudreuil's secretary whilst Governor of Louisiana, and was taken Prisoner in Beausejour), the Office Copies of Mor. Vaudreuil's Letters, and the French Minister's Original Letters to him... Presumably this story was trumped up by Pichon, who never had seen Louisiana, to facilitate a little private business on his own account.
Thanks to Dr. J. C. Webster, 1 we are at last able to piece together the missing parts of this puzzle, and the following is probably as accurate an account of what actually happened as can be reconstructed.
The capture of the French ship L'Alcide, which occurred in June, 1755, made a prisoner of François Pierre de Rigaud, brother of the Marquis de Vaudreuil, who carried with him his brother's Louisiana papers. Rigaud and other French officers were sent to Halifax, and shortly afterward Pichon joined them, ostensibly a fellow prisoner, but actually in the pay of the English. Having gained the confidence of Rigaud, he let it be known that he was to be transferred to Louisbourg, whereupon Rigaud and his confrères turned over their letters, dispatches, etc., in the hope that they might ultimately reach France. In a letter (Oct. 9, 1755) from Pichon to Hinchelwood, Secretary of the British Government, the original of which is in the Nova Scotia archives, the following sentence occurs:
I have already been entrusted with a kind of chest, in which are concealed two registers of letters of M. de Vaudreuil, formerly Governor of Mississippi, and, at present, General of Canada, and some bundles of papers.
Probably Pichon sailed for England shortly afterward. The transfer of the contents of the chest to Lord Loudoun apparently was negotiated by his Lordship's secretary, John Appy, on Mar. 8, 10, and 30, 1756, under which dates in Appy's account book occurs the following entry: Coach hire to M. Tyrell... 2/6.
1John Clarence Webster, Thomas Pichon, the Spy of Beausejour,(Sackville, N. B.: The Tribune Press, 1937).
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[Identification of item], The Vaudreuil Papers (French Colonial Manuscripts), The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
Pierre François de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal (1698-1764), Canadian born, belonged to a family notably identified with the founding and developing of New France.
Trained to military service, Vaudreuil entered the marine corps, and rose to the rank of major. His first civil commission came in 1733 with an appointment to be governor of Trois Rivières. Nine years later he was sent to Louisiana to succeed Bienville, and was governor of that colony until 1753.
After a two-year sojourn in France, Vaudreuil returned to his native land as governor and lieutenant general of New France, the second of his name to hold that dignity. His administration, the last under French rule, was brought to a close by the conquest, in 1760, and he retired to France, where four years later he died.
- La Jonquière, Jacques Pierre Taffanel, Marquis de
- Maurepas, Jean Frédéric Phélypeaux, Comte de
- Rouillé, Antoine Louis, Comte de Jouy
- Vaudreuil-Cavagnal, Pierre François de Rigaud, Marquis de
- 147 individual pieces, also letterbooks, infra.
- Vaudreuil-Cavagnal, Pierre François...Marquis de. Lettres écrittes à la Mobile et de tous les Postes de sa Dépendance. 1743-47.
- _____. Parole à porter aux Tchactas sur la Paix que les Tchikachas demandent... Jan. 15, 1744
- Macarty-Mactigue. Correspondence with the Marquis de Vaudreuil. Kaskaskias, Illinois. (19 pieces) 1752-53
- Journal de Monsieur marin fils, Commandant pour Le Roy a La baye des puans et dependances chargé de faire et de faire faire Les Descouvertes dans le haut Mississipi, des mines, miniere, et mineraux qui pourroient Si trouves et dy Lier auni Commerce avec Les nations qui pourroient habitter ces contrés. Aug. 7, 1753 to June 20, 1754
- Celoron de Blainville, Pierre Joseph. Letters to the Marquis de Vaudreuil from Detroit. (2 pieces). Apr. 23 and Aug. 4 1751,
The Mississippi valley, French dominion, 1740-53.
- 1. Civil administration of the colony
- 2. Schemes for colonization and expansion
- 3. Defences
- 4. Policy toward the English and Indians
- 5. European trade
- 1. Social and economic conditions
- 2. Religious life
- 3. Monopolies and concessions
- 4. Official appointments
- 5. Shipping
- 6. Coastal trade
- 7. Statistics
- 8. Importation of negroes
- 1. Military activities
- 2. Indian trade
- 3. Conflicts with the English
- 4. Subsistence of garrisons
- 5. Fortification
- 6. Exploring expeditions
- 7. Transportation
- 8. Missions and missionaries
- 9. Statistics
- Communication between Louisiana and Canada