Jean François MICHAUD

All that is known about François Michaud, is derived mainly from the book written by Hélène MASPERO-CLERC and researches conducted by Christian BORDE.

François Michaud was a wealthy fitter-out of ships, son of a family of shipping-agents in Calais : Charles M. Michaud and Marie Jeanne Lépine. He was to become the 185th richest man in Nantes. On the 27th of january 1784 he maried Françoise Peltier in the church of St Nicolas, Nantes ; his brother, the vicar of Bomy, in Artois, gave the blessing.

The couple had several children, of whom the godfathers of two sons were both ship's captains:

-Charles Louis Auguste Michaud, born on the 19th of septembre 1787, and baptised at St Nicolas, had as godfather Pierre Augustin Moncousu (1), representing François Michaud's brother : the latter was Charles François Jean Marie Michaud, the above mentionned vicar of Bomy (62 Pas de Calais). His godmother was Marie Louise Hélène Le Chault (2), widow of the shipper M. H. Robert Pitot, based in Mauritius (formerly Ile de France).
-Henri François Michaud, born on the 21st of june 1791, and baptised at the church of Ste-Croix, Nantes, had as godfather François Jérôme de Foligné (3), chevalier de St-Louis and officer of the French Navy.

One of François Michaud's sons, Louis-François, was an official witness at the marriage of his cousin, Marie, Françoise (Fany) Peltier to Félix de LANGLAIS, in Nantes on the 23rd of may 1821.

Between 1784 and 1786 François Michaud worked together with his father-in-law Jean Peltier fitting out various ships: the Bon Papa, Chérubin, St-Rémy, Montgolfier, Prophète Elie, Comte d'Angevilliers, Comte d'Estaing and Le Breton.

Having closed down and paid off all their debts, in 1792 they once again fitted out a ship L'Aimable Suzanne. That was the vessel which took Jean Pelletier to Mauritius, and was finally "sold in India."

It was through François Michaud that Marie-Etienne Peltier obtained the command of the "Aventure", in 1796. This was a seventy ton privateer from Calais with sixteen guns ans a crew of sixty-five men, fitted out by A. Dauchy of Dunkirk and Louis Michaud, mayor of Calais from 1797 to 1815.

François Michaud, on his own, fitted out La Félicité (4), 278 ton, two-decker with three masts. Built in England, it had been captured by the corsair Le Boulonnais (5) . In the margin of the ship's register is wrotten: « Brought into this port in year VI (1797-98) » and « Year X (6) french prize, sent to India under the command of captain Format( ?) ».

On the death of his father-in-law and of his wife, both in 1803, and with his brothers-in-law being away (either privateering or in exile) it was François Michaud who devoted himself to scrupulously managing the family's wealth.

François Michaud showed himself to be sympathetic and very conscientious concerning his family responsibilities ; but times were difficult for business. In 1819, according to him, the crisis was alarming: fitters-out, speculators and traders were suffering crushing losses ; the bottom had dropped out of the market and there were a great many bankruptcies. He made sure that Jean-Gabriel Peltier was eventually repaid the sums which were owed to him by subscribers to the paper "l'Ambigu" (7) in Guadeloupe and the West-Indies ; but reimbursement was slow. He was unable to satisfy the numerous demands of his brother-in-law, Jean-Gabriel, for loans or advances on the paternal inheritance.

He insisted that Jean-Gabriel helped his niece Fany, the daugther of Marie- Etienne, orphaned and hard-up. It showed considerable altruism on his part when one realises the needs of Jean-Gabriel himself ... in addition, the two brothers were at loggerheads because of their conflicting political views.

Fany had been ruined by the fiasco of San Domingo (where her mother had property). She had asked for help from the government in 1819, but it was not until 1825 that France obtained compensations and provided financial help. Despite this, Fany Peltier received nothing.

Tugdual de LANGLAIS

Translation: Terence O'HARA

1- MONCOUSU Pierre-Augustin, one of the best French sailors, born at Baugé (Anjou) 1756, died at the battle of Algéciras, against Nelson. Served firstly in the Navy then, from 1781 to 1794 in the merchant marine.
After the 1939-45 war, the city of Nantes re-named the Quai de l'Hôpital, where Jean Pelletier-Dudoyer used to live, the Quai Moncousu. In 1785 G. Moncousu commanded Le Chérubin ; one of the ships of the Pelletier-Dudoyer-Michaud combine.
2- The future Madame Jean Pelletier-Dudoyer
3- de FOLIGNE François Jérome, chevalier de St-Louis and naval officer. A Jérome de Foligné de Chalonge is recorded in 1782 as in command of Le Marquis de la Chalotais, a Peltier-Dudoyer ship, then La Ménagère, a naval store-ship equiped with 24 cannons. This ship had been supplied fully armed to Beaumarchais by the Minister of the Navy in compensation for the damage to the Fier Rodrigue, it had been fitted out by Monthieu - Beaumarchais.
4- Félicité, "La Route des Iles", Auguste Toussaint, year 1802, page 329 : ship from Nantes, captain Fauvette, sailing to Tranquebar (on the Coromandel Coast in the Bay of Bengal, India)
5- Le Boulonnais, fitted out in october 1797 at Boulogne, Captain Pierre Louis Nicolas Hardouin, fitted out again in august 1798, commander Fr Julien Cardon. 1799, captured by the English : 70 men and 14 guns.
6- Years X, 1802.
7- "Ambigu", French counter-revolutionary news paper edited in London.