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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
the afternoon of the 29th d’Aché had to face the English
Squadron under Admiral Pocock consisting of the following vessels:
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.
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
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.
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
to keep his squadron on the coast until October, d’Aché refused
and sailed on 2nd September arriving in Mauritius on 13th
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:
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:
74 gun Zodiaque under Admiral
d’Aché, the 64 gun Actif
commanded by Captain Beauchère, the 74 gun the Minotaure
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.
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].
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
give you one hour from the delivery of this message to decide. If any
resistance is made you must by the consequence thereof.
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
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
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.
shall take possession of the Colony of Mahé and its dependencies.
La batterie de la place tirera trois coups par pièces à boulet ; il
sera fait trois décharges de mousqueterie avant d’amener le pavillon
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.
property shall be protected. The inhabitants and their slaves shall remain
unmolested. I shall take the brig Olivette.
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.
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.
Le commandant militaire et civil ne sera point fait prisonnier de guerre.
shall be prisoner of war during my stay only.
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
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.
Fait à Mahé, Iles Seychelles, le 17 mai 1794.
on board H. B. M. ship Orpheus, in the roads of Mahé or
Seychelles, the 17th May 1794.
Signed Jn Bte Quéau Quinssy
Nageon de l’Etang
H.] Cornier Bellevaut
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.
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”.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
1799, off Mahé
the British ship Collector captured
the French corsair the Furet on
her first trip, under the
command of Jean Victor Goynard.
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.
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
1799, 20 September,
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.
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.
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.
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
May or 1st June,
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.
on the Uni took the English ship the Helen Captain John Stewart.
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
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.
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.
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
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.