Lot 66
  • 66


100,000 - 150,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • manuscript essay
Essai sur les moyens de transporter à La Louisiane la Peuplade du Canada, En cas qu'on prît le parti de le céder aux Anglois ou de l'abandonner. No place, 17 December 1758

Manuscript on 20 folio leaves (13 1/8 x 8 3/4 in.; 334 x 223 mm), written recto and verso in two neat hands, sewn, with 3 terminal blank leaves; occasional light soiling, some minor marginal dampstaining at end. Maroon morocco folding case, large black morocco label on front cover, chemise.

Catalogue Note

A previously unknown manuscript account of an obscure French project to relocate some 60,000 French inhabitants of Canada to Louisiana during the French and Indian War. This plan was not known to historians until 1954 when Lionel Grouls published a study of another similar, but shorter, manuscript from the Centre des Archives d'Outre-Mer (C11 A, 103), dated 27 December 1758, in Revue d'Histoire de l'Amérique française(vol. VIII [1954]: 97-118). 

The anonymous author details the advantages of such a project: increasing the population of Louisiana; making it a stronger colony, capable of withstanding English encroachment; developing the agriculture of the region; and establishing new trade routes and partners. The author also is adamant that the any émigrés must be persuaded to join the project voluntarily because of the personal advantages to them—they are not to be coerced or forced to move. He actually tabulates twenty-seven points that can be used to convince the settlers to abandon Canada for Louisiana, and he also speculates that camels might be sent to the settlers in their new southern homeland. The movement of settlers is to be preceded by a military convoy, which will then report on how many people can travel at once, as well as the feasibility of traveling on board vessels across the Great Lakes and down the Mississippi River. The author assumes that the entire project would be paid for by Louis XV, but in addition to the enormous logistical problems this project would have faced, the French treasury simply could not have afforded an expenditure on this scale at that time, and the project never developed beyond the proposal stage.

This manuscript is in a clerical hand, and there is no clue to the identity of the actual author, but some possible authors include Colonel Louis Antoine de Bougainville, deputy to General Montcalm; Jean Antoine Nicolas François de Capellis, marquis de Capellis, who wrote several "mémoires" about France’s North American colonies; François-Pierre de Vaudreuil, whose brother had been the French colonial governor of Louisiana and of New France.