Translation © Donald E. Pusch 2008, Some Rights Reserved.This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visithttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, CA, 94105, USA.
Duplessis [to Minister], Havana, January 25, 1757.
A.N., Colonies C
39, fol. 302-3. Duplessisreports his capture by the English and the fact that he had to destroy the dispatches he wascarrying to France for Governor Kerlérec. Per Kerlérec’s instructions, he recounts criticalinformation that was not included in the dispatches for fear of their being captured. He reports, inparticular, the status of the colony’s relations with the Indian nations. At the end of his letter,Duplessis requests that he be given command of one of the detached companies of the Marinein Louisiana. Copy from microfilm provided by The Historic New Orleans Collection, WilliamsResearch Center, New Orleans. Translation by Donald E. Pusch, April 2007.[fol. 302:]Havana, January 25, 1757.Duplicate by the
Monseigneur,It has been eight years since I was afflicted by a sickness that increases every summer in spiteof the remedies for it that I could take in Louisiana, which put me, with much regret, in absoluteneed of asking for a leave of Monsieur the governor in order to go to France to regain my health,which, not permitting me to wait any longer for a ship of the King, obliged me to pay for passageon the brigantine
going to Cap François,
from where I was destined to go to France by asquadron, ship, or frigate of His Majesty. The ship sailed on December 20 last and was takenprize the 22nd at about forty leagues east southeast of the Balize by one named Richar Adou, acorsair from New York commanding the schooner
. The way in which this corsair gotrid of us to the southeast of the Gardens of the Queen,
the loss that I incurred of that which Ihad, all that we have suffered in order for us to come here after having run the risk of losing [our]lives in various ways would make too long a narration to recount here.Independently of the packets [of letters] that were given to me and which, in case of accident, Ihad orders to throw into the sea, as I did, there was an essential and urgent matter that Monsieurthe governor did not dare to trust to paper, in the fear of sudden and unexpected surprise. It isthe situation of the colony, Monseigneur, of which I was charged to speak to you. It was, for thispurpose, communicated to me that which is fitting that I knew in this regard, and as I could stillbe [delayed] a long time and encounter risks before my return, I take an alternative that does notappear to me to pose any danger, which is to have this letter sent by Cádiz. I address it to thegovernor with the prayer that you receive (
) it promptly by an appropriate and sure means sothat it cannot fall into enemy hands. Monsieur de Kerlérec, counting on the help that the flûte
should carry to Louisiana,
had two good forts built, one on each side of the river aboutsix and a half leagues below New Orleans.
These forts are placed advantageously. He had nota cannon to put there, the colony entirely lacking them, as well as cannoneers, powder,cannonballs and that which is necessary for the servicing of artillery.[fol. 302v:]The thirty-six companies that should be of fifty men each are not [even] at twenty-five. Even ofthese [men], there are several old and incapable of service. There are others of them always inthe hospitals. Thus, the garrisons are very weak. Monsieur Kerlérec had the intention to have afort built at Ouabache,
which has been impossible for him. I believe, as well, that he will findhimself unable to dispatch, next February, a convoy to the Illinois as he intended, having sentonly a very small one in the month of July last.The arms, munitions, and merchandise for the savages are totally lacking. There were of these,last November, only one piece of
in the storehouse. Proportionally, the rest werelikewise [diminished]. This article is of very great consequence for conserving our old allies andassuring us of new ones. You know, Monseigneur, that one can count on the savages only to theextent that they receive, in their time, the presents that one is in the habit of giving to them and