Catalogue description Captured ship: Postillon of Nantes (master Jean Fouree or Foure), formerly the Fidelite...

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Details of HCA 32/143/19
Reference: HCA 32/143/19

Captured ship: Postillon of Nantes (master Jean Fouree or Foure), formerly the Fidelite. History: a French ship (150 tons, 5 carriage guns, 2 swivel guns, 20 men, 2 passengers, owned by Jean White an Irishman of Nantes), bound from Martinique to Nantes, laden with sugar, coffee and cotton in Fort Royal by Jacques Secretain who was a correspondent of Jean White and Co; taken on 10/21 February 1747 in latitude 45°30'N by the English merchant ship (outward bound to St Kitts) William and Anne (master Rotheram Wratten, with a letter of marque) and brought into Portsmouth by a prize crew.


Court Papers:

  • [CP 1-CP 5]: standing interrogatories, three examinations, commissioners' affidavit;
  • [CP 6]: allegation;
  • [CP 7-CP 8]: attestation as to papers, abstracts and translations of ship's papers (SP A-SP B and SP 1-SP 83); mentions four bundles A-D, kept seperately. D has not yet been found, but may perhaps have been the papers rather than the volumes in the large folder marked C.

Ships Papers: almost all these papers refer not to the Postillon but to the earlier slave trading voyage of the Providence of Nantes (master Jacques Secretain, otherwise Secretin, Segretain or Segretin) and his later work in Martinique as a correspondent or agent of Jean White and Co of Nantes, owner of both ships.) The Providence herself was not captured: she left Martinique in November 1745 and arrived in Nantes in March 1746, leaving Secretain in Martinique until December 1746 when he (with his papers) took passage home on the Postillon.

  • From the Postillon, SP A-SP B: bill of lading, duplicate;

From both ships:-

  • SP 1-SP 37: From the Providence (with a few exceptions) accounts, bills of lading, many letters, ship's passes, port documents - almost all from or about Secretain's previous ships Providence and Esperance of Nantes, with detailed slave trade accounts, trading papers etc;
  • SP 38-SP 83: letters mostly addressed to Jacques Secretain.
  • Bundle A, from the Postillon, and numbered A1-A18: personal letters, notes and accounts, many from the personal archive of Michel Le Pape of Pornic, second captain of the Postillon;
  • Bundle B, from the Postillon, and numbered B1-B8: ship's journals, accounts, waste book, notebooks from the Postillon.

Bundle C [perhaps including D]: Contains Secretain's papers in four orignal bundles and three volumes:

  • C 1a-C 47: letters to Secretain from St Pierre and Port Royal in Martinique, March 1745-July 1746, filed on a green cord.
  • C 48-C 62b: commercial agreements entered into by Secretain while at Martinique, March 1745-May 1745.
  • C 63-C 77: ship's papers from Martinique, relating to the Providence, April 1745.
  • C 78-C 135: accounts maintained by Secretain while at Martinique, April 1745-December 1746.
  • C 136-C 138b: three volumes:- a list of cargo aboard the Providence before her departure from Nantes for Angola (c. July 1744), detailed accounts of good exchanged with named sellers for [500] individual enslaved people at Cabinda, Angola (September 1744-January 1745), and accounts of [488] of them sold at Martinique (April 1745).
  • C 139: a parchment case made to house Secretain's papers, marked C.

[Decision: Postillon condemned as prize, 26 March 1747]

Note: Extra information from HCA 30/775/4
Date: 1747
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Former reference in its original department: Ship's papers added from HCA 30/672 in the 1950s, and from HCA 32/144/19 in 2020
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English, French and Spanish
Closure status: Open Document, Open Description

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