"From Nantes to Louisiana"

The Last Great Acadian Migration

In 1785 there were seven ships from Nantes ready to set sail for Louisiana. They were:
Le Bon Papa, La Bergère, Le Beaumont, Le Saint Rémy, L'Amitié, La Ville d'Archangel, and La Caroline; they carried the hopes of the last Acadians who were refusing all assimilation in France. In this flotilla, two ships: Le Bon Papa (280 tons) and Le Saint-Rémy (400 tons) belonged to the same ship owner, Pelletier-Dudoyer, Carrier and Company (Michaud). Another ship, La Caroline, was commanded by a former captain of the same company, Nicholas Baudin; he was a first cousin of Marie-Etienne Peltier. One could assume that Peltier had been solicited directly by Spain, or perhaps by Beaumarchais as an intermediary of Spain's, if one considers the links of Beaumarchais to King Charles III and his ambassador, the Count d'Aranda. Rodrigue Hortalez, Beaumarchais's company, founded to send supplies to the rebellious Americans, had been partially financed by the Spanish court. The choice of Peltier may have also been made easier by his connections with Beaumarchais, but one should probably also keep in mind that he had offices in Nantes and was nearby to han.

The complete history of the thirty painful years of the Acadians is taken up in Gérard-Marc Braud's book, "De Nantes à la Louisiane." There, one finds that the idea of the Acadians going to Louisiana starts to germinate around 1770 in Saint-Malo. Other proposed projects will eventually fail, but some 2000 Acadians will gather at Nantes with the secret hope of leaving for America.

The actual putting into effect of this final "derangement" is accomplished by Peyroux de la Coudrenière (husband of an Acadian) and by an Acadian, Olivier Terriot. They will do everything to interest Charles III and d'Aranda in their project; Louis XVI was already convinced of its worthiness. M. d'Asper, the Consul of Spain in Nantes, chartered the ships to guarantee the voyage of the 1584 Acadians gathered in Nantes who were anxious to get to Louisiana. It must be remembered that that territory belonged to the Spanish at this time. The necessary papers to charter the ships were signed at the office of Master Briand (called Briand Junior) in the region of the Loire-Atlantique on 6 Mai 1785 for Le Bon Papa and on 20 June 1785 for the Saint-Rémy.

"La Feuille Maritime de Nantes" (previously "La Feuille Nantaise") announced in issue number 8 of 20 April 1785, the immanent departure of Le Bon Papa and gave as its captain, Peltier the son, with a destination of New Orleans.
Le Bon Papa, with 156 on board, left first on 10 May; Le Saint-Rémy, with 327 on board, left on 27 June 1785. The voyages were relatively free of any problems. Marie-Etienne, son of the ship owner, was the second in command of Le Bon Papa "going to St-Marc (Santo-Domingo) and passing by Louisiana..." (see the "Registre des Volontaires sur les Batiments Marchands" facing the listing of Marie-Etienne). During that spring everyone must have been in good humor.

It is thanks to the internet site on the Acadians of Daniel BURGOT that I was able to uncover the role played by Jean Peltier-Dudoyer in the transporting of the Acadians to Louisiana. Mr. Burgot was also the one who gave me photos of the registers taken at the Archives Départementales de la Loire-Atlantique. From there, all I had to do was to read Gérard-Marc Braud's book to complement all the previous information I already had.

The passenger lists can be consulted on the internet sites mentioned in the links..


"De Nantes à la Louisiane" by Gérard-Marc BRAUD, 1994.
"Acadian Odyssey" by Oscar William WINZERLING, Hebert Publications, Eunice, Louisiana.

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