home3.gif (321 octets)
plan3.gif (998 octets)
flgau.gif (992 octets)



Mauritius with a big profit of two million French pounds. A year later he succeeded Captain Grout de Saint Georges (who had died) as commander of the local navy forces. He took his ships back to France and returned to Mauritius and retired in 1764 on a pension.

1741, Labourdonnais Bertrand-François Mahé of St Malo, set sail from France to Mauritius as Captain on the Frigate Mars, leading a squadron of six ships, at 19 he entered the service of the Compagnie des indes as a lieutenant he was made Captain in 1724. He took part in the capture of Mahi (Mahé) on the Malabar Coast, at 36 he was made governor-general of the French Islands in the Indian Ocean. As engineer and shipbuilder in a very short time he reorganised the administration Mauritius, he modernised Port Louis, by building hospitals, barracks, roads and canals. He introduced new crops such as cassava from Brazil, as food for the slaves and the mynah birds (Martin) from the Philippines to eliminate locusts in Mauritius. With the out brake of war between France and Britain, he was put in command of a fleet to defend Mahé, where he defeated the British in two naval actions. His blockade of Madras by sea enabled the French to capture this important port in 1746, bad relations with Joseph-François Dupleix, the French Governor General of Pondichery, he returned to France. En route his ship was captured by the British; he was allowed to return home on parole. Arrested in 1748 and imprisoned in the Bastille, tried and acquitted in 1751, he died in 1753. 

1756 17th December, Brigadier Charles Henri Theodart le Comte d’Estaing of Auvergne, France, arrived in Mauritius on the Zodiaque. Sometimes after his arrival he relinquished his army position and fitted out, two ships at his own expense for an expedition and they were the 40 gun the Condé and an 18 gun frigate the Expédition. D’Estaing set sailed from Port Louis for the Persian Gulf,with a crew of 500, 400 of which were Créole of Mauritius. In October 1759 near Bender-Abbas he captured a British frigate the Speedwell and five more ships, then he moved to Muscat had more success, some of his prizes were sent to Port Louis. In January 1760 d’Estaing sailed to Sumatra where he captured three more vessels the schooners the Young London and the Faye and the barque the Charming Fanny. Then at Bencoulen he seized the 24 gun the Deham an East Indiaman, and he attacked and captured the English port of Fort Marlborough. In March he took many prisoners at the English settlement at Kafour and Groes, on the coasts of Sumatra his forces took the English post of Ypou-pal, Caytone, Sablat, Bantar and Lahaye. After his 22 month expedition he returned to Mauritius with his valuable prizes including 1½ million pounds of pepper. In 1761 d’Estaing was captured by the English and was imprisoned at Portsmouth for a few months. A year later he was made Viceroy of Brazil, three years later he was appointed Governor of Santo Domingo. In 1772 naval commander of Brest and later in 1792 he was promoted to Admiral, he was beheaded two years later during the French Revolution.

1758, Count Admiral Antoine Anne d’Aché, headed a tasked force from Brest to India, consisting of 1,130 troops and various volunteers, his squadron was as follows:

The 74 gun the Zodiaque, under Admiral d’Aché and Flag Captain Antoine de Gotho, the 74 gun the Comte de Provence, commanded by Captain la Chaise, the 64 gun the Vengeur, under Captain Jean Christy de La Palliére, the 56 gun the Saint Louis commanded by Captain Joanis, the 56 gun the Duc d’Orléans under the command of Captain Surville, the 50 gun the Duc de Bourgogne commanded by Captain Jean-Baptiste Nicolas d’Après Mannevillette, of le Havre, (he was the first Frenchman to employ the method of measuring distances of sun and moon to determine longitude), the 40 gun Condé under Captain Rosban, the 58 gun Bien-Aimé, commanded by Captain Bouvet, the 50gun Moras  under Captain Bec de Lièvre, the 30 gun Sylphide commanded by Captain Mahy and the 26 gun Diligente under Captain Marc-Joseph Marion Dufresne also known as Marie, Marie-Joseph, Macie, or Nicolas-Thomas.

The expedition arrived in Mauritius in December 1757 and left Port Louis on 18th January 1758 for Cuddalore, arriving there on 28th April where the troops were landed. The next day in the early morning two ships were detached against d’Aché’s wished by Count Thomas Arthur de Lally-Tollendal,(son of an Irish Jacobite, born in Romans, France) the newly appointed Governor-General of the French East Indies, to take him immediately to Pondichéry, as soon as he arrived there de Lally-Tollendal quarrelled with Governor de Leyrit.

On the afternoon of the 29th d’Aché had to face the English Squadron under Admiral Pocock consisting of the following vessels:

The 74 gun Yarmouth under Admiral Pocock, and Flag Captain Harrison, the 70 gun Elizabeth under Admiral Stevens and Flag Captain Kemperfelt, the 66 gun Cumberland commanded by captain Bereton, the 66 gun Weymouth under Captain Nicolas Vincent, the 60 gun Tiger commanded by Captain Thomas Latham, the 60 gun Newcastle under Captain George Legge, the 56 gun Salisbury commanded by Captain J H Somerset, the 34 gun Queensborough and the 14 gun Proctector.

In the battle which lasted for 3 hours both sides suffering most severely, the French lost 174 men and 327 wounded but managed to crippled the English who where forced to return to Madras for urgent repairs. On 2nd of June 1758 de Lally-Tollendal captured Cuddalore and prepared to advance on Madras.

After the battle Admiral Pocock dissatisfied with the conduct of three of his Captains, he dismissed Legge, Vincent and Bereton was deprived of his rank for a year. As for the French d’Après he lost command of his ship, the Bien-Aimé was lost in May near Pondichéry.

In the second confrontation which took place in August near Porto Novo, not a ship was lost, the French received much cannonades and the damage was heavy, losing 96 men and 393 wounded. The English sailed to Negapatam and the French sailed hurriedly for repairs to Pondichéry, later de Lally-Tollendal  order  to keep his squadron on the coast until October, d’Aché refused and sailed on 2nd September arriving in Mauritius on 13th October 1758.

At Port Louis d’Aché found newly arrived reinforcements (but no fresh provisions) under Chevalier Froger de l’Eguille with the following ships: The 74 gun Minotaure under Captain de l’Eguille, the 64 gun the Illustre commanded by Captain de Ruis, and the 64 gun Actif under Captain Beauchère. To save his crew from starving d’Aché dispatched a Division under Captain de Ruis to the Cape to secure badly needed supplies. During the cruise de Ruis captured the 96 gun English Indiaman, the Grantham, with a cargo worth 3 million francs. D’Aché set sailed on 17th July 1759 for the West Coast of India stopping in La Réunion and Madagascar looking for more food supplies, he arrived at Batticaloa, Ceylon on the 30th August. A few days later he was in action with Admiral Pocock’s reinforced fleet which were as follow:

The 74 gun the Griffin under Admiral Stevens, the 74 gun Yarmouth under Admiral Pocock, the 70 gun Elizabeth commanded by Captain Latham, the 60 gun Newcastle under Captain Latham, the 60 gun Tiger commanded Captain Brereton, the 66 gun Cumberland under Captain Somerset, the 56 gun Salisbury under Captain Dent, the 60 gun Sanderland commanded by Captain Collet, the 66 gun Weymouth under Captain Baird and four Frigates. The French reinforced squadron were as follow:

The 74 gun Zodiaque under Admiral d’Aché, the 64 gun Actif commanded by Captain Beauchère, the 74 gun the Minotaure

under Captain l’Eguille, the 56 gun Duc d’Orléans commanded by Captain Surville, the 56 gun Saint Louis under the command of Captain Joanis, the 64 gun Vengeur under Captain La Pallière, the 74 gun Comte de Provence commanded by de la Chaisse, the 50 gun Duc de Bourgoyne under Captain Malvy, the 64 gun Illustre commanded by Captain de Rais, the 64 gun Fortuné under Captain Beaulieu, and the 68 gun Centaure under the command of Captain La Bretinière.

In this third battle the well supplied English Squadron had an advantage over the French, the captain of the Zodiaque was killed and d’Aché badly wounded and had to seek refuge in Pondichéry. On 20th September he had to be carried to shore for a conference with de Lally-Tollendal’s Council, not agreeing with the de Lally-Tollendal advice he set sailed for Mauritius on 1st October) arriving at Port Louis on the 17th November. With d’Aché’s departure France’s naval blockade ceased to exist and the English had succeeded in isolating the French in India. Admiral Pocock handed over his command to Admiral Stevens and returned home. D’Aché returned to France and was made Lieutenant-General and retired in 1770 and de Lally-Tollendal was defeated and surrendered at Wandiwash near Pondichéry to Sir Eyre Coote on 21st January 1761 and was allowed to go home on parole. On his return to France he was charged with Pondichéry to his enemies, presumably because of his Irish ancestry, and then on 6th May 1776 this innocent man was beheaded at La Bastille. His death caused a lot of uproars and led the old and fragile Voltaire (François Marie Arouet, alias) to do research night and day to write The Historical Fragments of the History of India and General Lally which proved his innocent.  De Lally-Tollendal was later immortalised by Voltaire’s last (conscious act) a two lines letter written on his death bed at Hotel Villette in Paris, Voltaire had it pinned to his bed hangings in large letters of the following words: On 26th May, the judicial murder committed by Pasquier (Councillor to the Parliament) upon the person of Lally was avenged by the Council of the King [Louis XVI].

1772, Count Maurycy Beniowski aliases Baron Maurice de Benyowski or Maurice d’Aladar, was apparently born of Polish nobility   when Poland was separated into three. Benoiwski was born in the Russian part, he was later exiled to Siberia for taking in an anti Russian uprising and some years later managed to escape with his gambling fortune. Benoiwski arrived at Mauritius with his entourage in two French ships and was welcomed by the Governor Julien François Dudresnay Desroches but was disliked by the intendant Pierre Poivre. After a few weeks Beniowski, sailed back to France via Port Dauphin, in France King Louis XV gave him the command of a large expedition (in exchanged for the stolen archives of Kamtchalka) to colonise a large part of southern Madagascar. He arrived back at Mauritius in September 1773, on the Marquis de Marboeuf with two escorts the Vaillant and the Postillon under the command of Captain Saulnier. He met the new Governor Charles Louis D’Arzac de Ternay who refused to supply him with ammunition, arms and money as instructed by metropolis for him to execute his mission. In rage Beniowski sailed back in January 1774 to Madagascar escorted by Rear-Admiral Saint Felix on the Desforges and landed at Antongil Bay.

Beniowski was a man with a vision to unite men and stop slavery in a short time he managed to make peace and signed a trade treaty with the natives, and built a town called Louisbourg. A year later the little colony was economically successful; he made a profit of 340.000francs in supplying Mauritius mainly with rice and cattle. Beniowski’s influence was growing rapidly with the Malagasy. The Governor of Mauritius envied the situation, refused to pay him overdue money and sent armed emissaries to influence the natives against Beniowski, the inhabitants with a force of 20,000 men rallied behind Beniowski and defeated the Mauritian allies. Beniowski was made a ‘King’ by the natives, disgusted by the French way of behaving he sailed to France and was presented for his good services with a sword of honour by the French Government. While in France he signed a treaty on 20 September 1783 with Emperor Joseph II of Austria to colonise and govern Madagascar.  Beniowski returned to Madagascar with valuable trading cargoes on the Intrépide he was attacked after landing, by armed men from Mauritius, most of his men were killed and his cargoes stolen. He then built a fort which he called Mauritiana to defend himself against the French from Mauritius.

François Vicomte de Souillac the governor of Mauritius sent an armed expedition headed by Captain Lacher de Vermond on the Louise to destroy the prosperous little colony of Louisbourg, in the attack Beniowski was killed and Captain Larcher destroyed Mauritiana and burnt Louisbourg to the ground. 


1776, Rahmah bin Jabr, this one-eyed captain was the most famous pirate in the Persian Gulf who plundered shipping for 50 years. At the age of 70, in a battle with the whole fleet off Bahrain, he set fire to the gunpowder magazine on his own ship, blowing half the enemy and himself sky high. 

1776, December Captain de Tronjoly arrived in Mauritius in the 64 gun Brillant with the new governor Chevalier Guiran de la Brilliane, shortly afterwards de Tronjoly set sailed to Pondichéry and on 10th April took part in a big naval battle against the English, comprising an armada of 10 ships. The English squadron were as follows: The 60 gun Rippon under Captain Vernon, The 28 gun Coventry commanded by Captain Marlow, the 24 gun Seahorse (Lord Nelson had served on her as Midshipman) the 24 gun the Cormorant commanded by Captain Owen and the 24 gun Valentine under Captain Ogilvy and the following were the French squadron: The 64 gun Brillant under Captain de Tronjoly, the 40 gun Pourvoyeuse commanded by Saint-Orins, the 26 gun Sartine commanded by du Chayla, the 24 gun Lauriston under Captain Lefer, with a crew of only 11 Whiteman and most others were lascars and the 24 gun Buisson commanded by du Chezeaux.

In the engagements the English had an advantage, the French ships where badly crippled and sailed to Pondichéry the English take out to Madras, du Chezeaux, du Chayla and Lefer fought bravely, Saint-Orins and de Tronjoly where much criticised for breaking off the battle. While in Pondichéry on 2nd August 1778 de Tronjoly refused to implement the instruction of Governor Bellcome to sail in pursuit of the Rippon instead he sailed his squadron speedily to Port Louis with his valuable pepper cargo. In May 1779, Captain Saint-Orins in the Pourvoyeuse and Captain Crozet in the Elizabeth captured the Osterly  an East Indiaman arriving at Port Louis the value was estimated to be 5 million Francs. Later Saint-Orins and other officers were dismissed for embezzled the proceeds of the prize money. Saint-Orins was later killed in a duel.

In 1781 the authorities Mauritius led a fruitless cruise to the Cape against the English, the squadron headed by de Tronjoly in the Brillant accompanied by Estienne d’Orves in the Orient, Tromlin in the Consolante, Saint-Orins in the Flamand, François Joseph Hippolyte de Maurville in Subtille and de La Landelle in the Pourvoyeuse. After finding no English ships they were well received by de Plettenburg the Dutch Governor. De Tronjoly sailed back to Mauritius and in 1781 handed over his command to d’Orves and returned for good to France in the Osterly

1780, 17th April  Captain Claude Deschiens-Kerulvay sailed from Port Louis on the Philippine with 25 Créole as part of her crew to cruise South of the Malabar coast. In June he took 3 ships off the coast of Ceylon, the first one was the 400 ton Prince under the command of Captain Scot and two smaller ships. A month later he captured the Queda a 500 ton ship, he then sailed back to Mauritius with Concord, the Catherine and the Espérance his three captured vessels and booty of 10,000 francs, the ships where later sold for 1, 670,000 francs. In 1783, Deschiens-Kerulvay was killed in his small ship the Mosdeste on the East coast of Africa while fighting two English armed merchantmen.

1792, Captain Jacques-François Grout de Saint Georges of Saint Malo arrived in Mauritius on the Fidèle he was later in charge of the defence ships on the Island. In 1747 he fought gallantly against the superior force of the English Admiral Anson and awarded with a gold repeater watch by Anson for his bravery. In 1792 he, cruised the Indian Ocean on the Fortuné along with a small division and made many captures. De Saint Georges died in a battle in January 1793 off Mozambique. Louis XV having heard of his death said; what a misfortune for France and awarded a pension to his brother Nicolas with a reversion to Jacques-François’s children.



1794, 16th May   five British three masts ships arrived at Mahé, Seychelles with French colours and lay anchored off Ste Anne Island. The squadron was under the command of Captain Henry Newcome*. They left England on 20th November 1793 to blockade Mauritius, it was intended to send four ships only the Centrurion, and the Diomède went. The flotilla that arrived at Mahé, comprises the following ships: The Centrurion, Resistance, Orpheus and Diomède, the latter was sent on to Madras. Arriving in the Seychelles were the 50 gun Centrurion commanded by Captain Samuel Osborn, the 44 gun Resistance, under the command of Captain Edward Packenham, the Orpheus of 32 guns commanded by Captain Henry Newcome. The other two ships were prizes taken prior to their arrival in the Seychelles and they were: the 32 gun French corsair Dugay Trouin, formerly the East Indian Princess Royal owned by Pitot & Co of Mauritius under the command of Corsair Julien Thérouart. Dugay Trouin was captured by the Orpheus, the 200 sick and wounded prisoners, and crew of the Dugay Trouin were put on Ste Anne Island and were later taken to Mauritius on a small brig. Then the Danish ship Dorothea Elizabeth which was carrying war stores to Mauritius was also taken. While in the Seychelles they took two further prizes the brig Olivette belonging to the French Corsair Jean-François Hodoul and the slaver Deux Andrés under the command of Captain Hardy from Mozambique with 400 slaves. On 20th May the Olivette was sent to Praslin to be provisions for the squadron, while there they found the brig Unité and a ship belonging to Mr Piquenard which was not taken.

*Captain Henry Newcome, as a lieutenant commanding the fire ship Combustion, had taken part in Sir Edward Hughes’ action against [the French Captain Pierre-André] Suffren off Madras in February 1782. The following year, in command of Hughes’ flagship the 74 gun  Surpeb, he was again in action against Suffren, off Guddalore. Newcome died in 1799.

Of the other captains in Newcome’s squadron at Seychelles, only Captain Samuel Osborn reached flag rank. He died, as an admiral of the Blue, in June 1816. Captain Edward Pakenham, who commanded the Resistance, took part in the reduction of Dutch possessions at Malacca on 17 August 1795, along with Newcome in the Orpheus. In March 1799 Pakenham and almost all his crew were lost when the Resistance blew up after being struck by lightning. (McAteer pp 316-317,)

Captain H. Cormier Bellevant was sent by the Seychelles authorities on board the Orpheus to negotiate, he came ashore with the writ of Captain Newcome and the next day; Jean-Baptiste Queau Quinssy accompanied by the Corsair Julien Tréhouart proceeded on the ship with the following document setting the terms for the surrender of Seychelles to the British.


By Henry Newcome Esquire Captain of His Britannic Majesty’s Ships Orpheus and Senior Officer of His Britannic Majesty’s Ships employed on a particular service etc…

I do in His Britannic Majesty’s name demand an instant surrender of the Island of Mahé and its dependencies, with everything in and belonging thereto.

I give you one hour from the delivery of this message to decide. If any resistance is made you must by the consequence thereof.

Given under my hand, on board of his Britannic Majesty’s Ship Orpheus this 16th day of May 1794.

(Signed) Henry Y Newcome

            Copie de la Capitulation du  17 Mai 1794

            Jean-Baptiste Quéau Quinssy, captaine au Régiment de Pondichéry No 107, commandant militaire et agent civil pour la République française aux Iles Mahé ou Seychelles, Praslin et autres adjacentes, propose la capitulation suivante au Commodore Newcome, commandant  l’Orpheus pour S. M. Britannique, la division et l’expédition particulière composée du Centurion, capitaine Osborn, et de la Resistance, Com Packenham, d’après sa sommation en date du 16 mai 1794 :


Article 1 :

La Colonie, place, et la batterie de l’Isle Mahé ou Séchelles, Praslin et toutes ses dépendances, se rendent au Commodore Newcome le 17 mai presente année à 9 heures du matin. La garnison anglaise s’emparera des poste, batteries, bâtiments civils, et le pavillon anglais sers hissé sur la place.

Ø      I shall take possession of the Colony of Mahé and its dependencies.


Article 2 :

La batterie de la place tirera trois coups par pièces à boulet ; il sera fait trois décharges de mousqueterie avant d’amener le pavillon français.

·        Agreed.           


Article 3 :

Les propriétés des habitants seront respectées ; Il ne leur sera causé aucun trouble ni dommage dans leurs biens, meubles, immeubles, vaisseaux, marchandises, esclaves et dans leur personne, en aucune manière.

Ø      Private property shall be protected. The inhabitants and their slaves shall remain unmolested. I shall take the brig Olivette.

Article 4 :

Les batteries, munitions, canons, magazines, tous les bâtiments civils et effets appartenant à la République ne seront point touchés, tout restera dans l’état actuel.

·        The cannons, military stores and effects belonging to the Republic, in     their magazines, shall remain at my disposal.        The public buildings will be preserved. The two small pieces carrying 2 lb balls shall only be permitted to remain on the parade facing the governor’s house, for the purpose of making signals in case of insurrection amongst the slaves.

Article 5 :

Le commandant militaire et civil ne sera point fait prisonnier de guerre.

Ø      He shall be prisoner of war during my stay only.

Article 6 :

Les registres, papiers utiles aux citoyens habitants et ceux de la République pour la comptabilité seront respectés, non visités ; étant intéressant pour les familles et pour l’état que de choses aussi nécessaires soient conservées.

Ø      Agreed.


Article 7 :

La dite capitulation fait de bonne foi sera garantie par la signature du Commodore Newcome et signée par le commandant militaire et Agent Civil et par trois citoyens habitants des Seychelles représentant le corps des citoyens des Iles Mahé ou Seychelles et Praslin.

Ø      Agreed.

Fait à Mahé, Iles Seychelles, le 17 mai 1794.

Ø      Done on board H. B. M. ship Orpheus, in the roads of Mahé or     Seychelles, the 17th May 1794. 

Signed Jn Bte Quéau Quinssy                                 Henry Newcome

[Pierre]   Hangard

[Andre]   Nageon de l’Etang

[Captain H.] Cornier Bellevaut 

During his stay Captain Newcome arranged the first capitulation of Seychelles and the first Blue flag with the white inscription of Seychelles Capitulation replacing the tricolour was raised.

1795,  3rd September,   Robert Surcouf, the king of corsairs, arrived at Mahé, born at St Malo, from a noble family in 1773  an itinerant offspring perhaps of the wild geese of Sarsfield immortalised by Rudyard Kipling in his poem the Irish Guards, and of Dugay Trouin the famous once rich corsair who gave most of his fortune in the interest of France, but died impoverished in 1736. Surcouf first studied for the priesthood in a monastry at Dinan, then decided to be a sailor.  He sailed on the Heron at the age of 13 and arrived in Mauritius at the age of sixteen and served on the Aurore a few years later he was in command of the Crèole, then the Modeste which was later refitted and renamed the Emilie. He arrived at Mahé after being refused the lettres de marque by General Anne Joseph HIppolyte Maurès Comte de Malartic the new governor of Mauritius on the pretext that his 4 gun ship the Emilie was too small to be a successful privateer.  He was then sent on a trip to get a cargo of tortoises from Seychelles. Surcouf arrived at Mahé via La Réunion where he took some clandestine crew. During his sojourn he made no attempt to look for tortoises or wood, instead he recruited some more crew, provisioning the Emilie for his secret long voyage to hunt down enemy ships in the Bay of Bengal. Soon he left the Seychelles, his first catch was the Penguin his pursuit in the Bay of Bengal was very successful he managed to capture six more enemy ships the Russell, the Sambolasse and a pilot Brig which he took command and renamed the Cartier, he sent the Emilie to Mauritius with the prizes. While on board the Cartier he took two further prizes the Triton and the Kent five of his prizes arrived in Mauritius where large crowds gave him a hero’s welcome. All his prizes where temporally confiscated for defying orders; he went back to France to appeal against the injunction and was allowed only half of the value. His written official declaration of how the Emilie was chased by English ships near Mahé and neighbouring islands can not be taken for granted. Firstly there is no British record to suggest that any warships were near Mahé at that time and his statement was counter signed mostly by his surreptitious crew and not supported by any of his officers. In 1800 on another visit to Mahé this time on the Confiance he lost three men to the great white sharks. A few days later returning from the shore with provisions the long boat with Surcouf on board was attacked by sharks, to move the shark away Surcouf threw an egg in the shark open mouth and amazingly the shark disappeared.  He was reported as saying  “in similar encounter I would give the shark an omelette”.

On 29th January 1801 he left Mauritius in the Confiance and arrived at La Rochelle on 13th April of the same year. He married during the fragile Treaty of Amiens to Catherine Blaize de Maisonneauve, the daughter of a rich ship-owner of St Malo. After the collapse of the Treaty the First Consul General Bonaparte came personally to offer Surcouf the command of two Frigates for the Indian Ocean, which he accepted but refused to be under the command of Admiral Linios the commander of the French Fleet in the East Indies, for that Napoleon refused to accept.  

On 10th June 1807 Surcouf arrived back in Mauritius from France in his specially designed 18-gun Revenant where he was welcomed by the authorities. In agreement (after threatened to challenge Decaen to a dual for taking the Revenant) with Isidore Decaen he set sail three months later to intercept rice vessel between Madras and Bengal and he successively took the following rice ships: The Trafalgar, the Mangles, the Admiral Alpin, the Susannah, and the Hunter and later he took the Success, the Fortune, the New Endeavour, the Colonel Macauley, the William Burroughs, the Oriente and the Jean Labdam most of the ships were sent to Mauritius where Surcouf arrived on 31 January 1808.  He left Mauritius on 20th November 1808 for the last time in the Charles formerly the Sémillante (probably renamed by Robert Surcouf in honour of his eldest brother Charles) and arrived at St Malo on 5th February 1809 to retire from the sea. He was perhaps the first Malouin to be made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, he died on 8 July 1827 and his last word was apparently ‘le feu est aux poudres’

1796, 17th February, The Corsair Jean-François Hodoul, arrived at Port Louis with his first prizes the British 150 ton Castor, which was taken in a month earlier in Visigapatam. Hodoul was born at la Ciotat, Provence. He arrived at Mauritius on 12th April 1790 at the age of 25, two years later he was in command of the Deux Sœurs and in 1793 the brig the Succès.

1797, 1st May,  The corsair Apollon commanded by Jean-François Hodoul left Port Louis for the Malabar coast, where he captured the English ship, the 350 ton Elisa.

1797, 17th May,  Hodoul captured a smaller English vessel the Edroussi.

1797, 20th May  In the habour of Kalinga Hodoul took over an English vessel the Macoroy.

1797, 15th September on his way from Moka to Surat Hodoul captured his best ever catch the Bader Bux with 3732 gold ecus, some piastres, 296 gold sequins and a quantity of pearls.

1797, 30th October, on his way to Mauritius Hodoul captured the Laurel.

1797, 9th November  Hodoul took the Trayalle and the Harrington  and the total prizes of his expedition on the Apollon was 703,479,803 francs.

1798, 7th September, The Centurion returned to Seychelles this time under the command of Captain John Spratt Rainier nephew of the East Indies Commander-in-chief, Rear-Admiral Peter Rainier. Their grand farther was Daniel Regnier a Huguenot refugee from Poitou the French historical and cultural region of Vendée.

He was searching for a Danish ship reportedly at sea with a cargo of French bullion to India. On his arrival he renewed the Seychelles Capitulation.

On the 17th September the Centurion left for Bombay and Ceylon taking with them the Louisa a slave ship under Danish flag* with 260 slaves. As soon as they left Seychelles with new supplies of fresh beef, Captain Rainier decided to send the Louisa under a prize crew to Cape Town. On the way her former French Captain Baudin and some of his crew managed to regain controlled of the ship and sailed it to Mauritius where 20 crewmen from the Centurion became prisoners of war.

·        Denmark was in a protective maritime alliance against the British and this sort of action later encouraged Denmark, Russian and Sweden in 1800 to form the League of Armed Neutrality against the British blockade of continental Europe.



1799, off Mahé the British ship Collector captured the French corsair the Furet on her first trip, under the command of Jean Victor Goynard.



1799, Corsair Jean-Francois Malraux on the Iphigenie captured the Collector a British privateer off the coast of Mahé. He later revisited Mahé on the same ship to provision for his final journey to his spectacular death in the Arabian Gulf. After capturing a valuable prize the large ship Pearl on 7th October he transferred all the treasure on to the Iphigenie  and his first mate corsair Jacques Francois Ripaud de Montaudevert took command of her. On the way to Mauritius he was involved on 11th October 1799 in a 12 hour battle with the British corvette Trincomalee and the schooner Comet, Malraux was about to take the Trincomalee when she blow up and sank, destroying  the Iphigenie, Malraux went down with her. The Iphigenie  lost 115 men there where 35 survivors including only two from the Trincomalee which were picked up by the Pearl  who had managed to beat off the Comet, on the way to Mauritius the Pearl stopped at Mahé and  Montaudevert announce the bereavement of his former Captain. During his stopover Montaudevert requested the authorities for a land concession of three acres of land at Port Glaud.  

1799, July Corsair Joachin Dufourg arrived at Mahé on the Général Souza, during his short stopover he requested for a land concession which he was accorded at Cascade. 


1799, 10th September  the corsair Général Malartic visited the Seychelles to annul the capitulation by raising the French flag.


1799, 20 September, Captain Thomas Alexander arrived at Mahé on board the 40 gun ship Braave a former Dutch ship, from Trincomalee, Ceylon on her way to the Red Sea. After a brief naval encounter the newly arrived damaged, French Corvette the Surprise under Captain Barbier gave herself up. Captain Alexander then sent an armed boat to take possession of her, when boarded the British where very surprised that the Mysore’ ambassadors of Tippu Sultan or Fateh Ali Tipu, their followers and friend had escaped ashore. The representatives were Mr Dubricq, Cheik Abouram Saib and Mehmet Bismila, accompanied by Monsieur Dubuc a French General who was General of Maritime Affairs in Mysore.

The emissaries were on the way to France to request armed protection of Mysore against the British. With them was a valuable gift of jewels for the Executive Directory of France.

Captain Alexander was furious when his marines returned from shore without the envoys, the next day he sent an armed cutter to Pointe Larue their concealed place. When they reached Pointe Larue the diplomats had already gone leaving behind some objet d’art . Through disappointment Captain Alexander sent an ultimatum to the inhabitants to surround the ambassadors or have their possessions plundered and obliterated. Two days later the Tiger of Mysore envoys and their group gave themselves up. The action of Captain Alexander is not clear as the British under Colonel Sir Arthur Wellesley (later Duke of Wellington) and General David Baird had already taken Mysore, Tippu Sultan was killed on 4th May 1799 in Seringpatam, defending the fourth invasion of his country.

On 29th September the envoys and their suite left (without disclosing to the British, the whereabouts of their precious jewels which could be still buried somewhere on Mahé) on the repaired Surprise presumably for India they arrived later at La Réunion in a poorly equipped ship, the Braave and the brig Amboyna continued their journey to the Red Sea.  Captain Alexander left behind on Mahé several sick crew members of the Surprise, and gave approval to the French Captain Charles Picard of the schooner Diligent to get assistance for them at Mauritius.

1799, 28th November, Corsair Jean-Marie Dutertre on the Général Malartic captured the British vessel Surprise near Madras. The crew of the Surprise was taken to the Seychelles and later transferred on board the Success en route for Mauritius under the command of Corsair Jean-François Hodoul. They arrived at Mauritius on 28th January 1800.

1800, 28th May or 1st June, In a battle on the coast of Mahé, near Ste Anne Island Jean-François Hodoul on the Uni a 30 gun mini Frigate seized the 8 gun English corsair Henriet under Captain White.

1800, 11th July, Hodoul on the Uni  took the English ship the Helen Captain John Stewart.

1800, 5th August,Jean-François Hodoul on the Uni with its prize was captured by the HMS Arrogant and imprisoned at Fort William, Calcutta later he was joined by Nicolas Surcouf until 1802 when they were set free. Hodoul then settled definitely in Seychelles he was much involved in agriculture and naval constructions. He built the petit Port and Le Grand Chantier at Mahé.  As a planter he successfully introduced cacao, and made his fortune with his sugar and rum industry, cotton and coffee plantations. He was a man of evenhandedness and very kind to his slaves especially to his daughters and sons in law. His beautiful little Château (Château Mammelles) the oldest building in the Seychelles was built at the initiation of his wife by the exiled Jacobin architect Antoine Jean-Baptise Le Franc. His second big Creole house at Ma Constance was later used by the British Authorities to house the exiled Sultan of Perak. Hodoul died at Mahé on 10th January 1835 his tomb bears this simple and just epigram Il fut juste.

1801, 11th July, The 36 ton French frigate the Chiffone under the command of Captain Pierre Guiyesse arrived at Mahé from the port of St Nazaire with 33 deportees under sentence of exile from France in the matter of conspiracy of Rue Nicaise against the life of the first Counsul Napoleone Bounaparte. Three days later on Bastille Day the prisoners were allowed to disembark.

On 19th May en route to the Seychelles passing off Brazil the Chiffone captured the Andorinha a Portuguese corvette, Captain Guiyesse was unable to take the crew he let them go, after taking the needed cables, spare rigging and sails.

In June he captured the English company ship the Bellona with a rich cargo from Bengal on the way to London. In action the Chiffone had her mizzen mast crippled, Captain Guiyesse ordered Monsieur Mahé a French midshipman to take the Bellona with a prize crew to Mauritius where she arrived on the 17th July.

At Mahé the Chiffone was moved for urgent repairs for the replacement of her foremast in a natural little port near Pointe Conan, where most of her guns were repositioned ashore on Pointe Conan to form a battery to cover the port entrance. A look out was set up at Ste Anne Island to give warning of approaching ships. The repair work was to take about a month and several inhabitants lent their slaves to speed up the work.

On the 19th August the new bowsprit was in place and the new foremast was ready ashore to be taken on board. On the same day an incoming ship under the tricolor was sited from the lookout on Ste Anne, she sailed close to the Chiffone then the French Flag was pulled down and replaced by the Union Jack flag, she was the Sybille 38 gun British frigate under the command of Captain Charles Adam. Both ships opened fire at the same time, the scaffolding set up on the crippled Chiffone to receive the new mast prevented half or her guns to be used. The battle lasted for 17 minutes, the French surrendered due to the superior guns of the Sybile. 50 dead French Men where buried on Ste Anne. Captain Adam renewed the Seychelles Capitulation, took the sloop Sophie and the ketch Petit


à suivre