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Letterbook, October 1756-May 1757

 Item — Box: 1, item: 1
Magon, de la Ballus, Letterbook, October 1756 - May 1757
Magon, de la Ballus, Letterbook, October 1756 - May 1757

Magon supplies a wealth of information to his correspondents concerning the affairs of the privateers of Saint Malo, as well as news regarding the war on the sea against the English. His most frequent addressees are Lefouteaux and Company of Paris; Bigot, Lieutenant over King Louis XV's officials of Brest; and Dondel of Vannes. Among others of regular but intermittent contact are David of Morlaix, David Chauvel of Havre, DuRadier of Rennes, and David Cradin and Sons of Bordeaux.

Information concerning the French-English War appears throughout. In one of the first letters, he writers: "In this quarter, the movement is a stupendous opportunity for the privateers..." Magon's letters regarding warfare are not only informative in nature but are written with an effort at optimism and at boosting the morale of the war effort. In a letter addressed to Sir Debarrau of Bayonne on the 20th of October, 1756 Magon writes:

"Your privateers have been more diligent than ours and furthermore they need to be better. It will only be in December that they will have begun to dispatch from here troops of honest strength that will combat the English whose weak resistance they will continually devastate."

Within another letter to Sir P. S. Marigny of Paris dated the 31st of October, 1756, Magon reports:

"Here is a war that has the appearance of lasting for a long time. It would be a fatal blow to France's commerce to forgo having the merchants protected by the regiment staff. Our deck is full of vigor due to the productiveness of a number of noble privateers who are equipping Paris with an armament, an issue which has captured great interest."

The letters particularly portray a concern over the interdependent relationship between preservation of commerce and the protrusion of English forces. An extract of Magon's letter to Courton and Baur of Paris on October 31, 1756 provides a generous view of this mutual dependency:

"We have received from London by means of our letters the grievous list of 12 takeovers. It is certain that commerce is in true desolation. We cannot continue without an obvious, indiscreet act on our part to such a degree that merchant sailing may go unprotected. The small squadron sea routes are clouded with the sobering news."


  • October 1756-May 1757

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.


1 Items

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
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