[LOUISIANA]. CAILLOT, Pierre. Manuscript "Relation du Voyage de la Louisianne ou Nouvelle. France. fait par Sr. Caillot en l'Annee 1730." N.p., N.d. [watercolor plates dated 1729-1730].
Small folio (10 5/16 x 7 7/16 in.) 186 pp., manuscript in ink, in a neat italic hand, 28 lines to the page, each text page within ink borders, calligraphic titlepage in colored inks, decorative frontispiece and 10 folding watercolor plates, plans and maps (see below), bound with an unrelated printed item (see below). Binding: Contemporary French tree calf, flat spine gilt in 6 compartments, red morocco spine labels gilt-lettered "Relation de la Louisiane Descripti D'Alticchie", edges sprinkled red (very minor rubbing, some gilt slightly chipped). Collation: Watercolor frontispiece, calligraphic title with armorial at bottom, pp.1-100 (narrative of the "Voyage de l'Amerique"), 101-184 ("Relation du Mississipy et des Sauvages qui habitent cette Countrée"), 185-186 blank, 10 folding watercolor plates (see below). With a 125-page typed transcript.
A REMARKABLY EXTENSIVE FIRST-HAND ACCOUNT OF NEW ORLEANS AND LOUISIANA IN 1729-1730, ENTIRELY UNPUBLISHED, WITH AN IMPORTANT EARLY MANUSCRIPT PLAN OF NEW ORLEANS
A most remarkable discovery: an unpublished, book-length (about 33,000 words), first-hand description of New Orleans, Louisiana and other French colonial outposts in America, written only 11 years after New Orleans was founded, embellished with a fine series of original watercolor plates, plans and maps, as follows:
Frontispiece: drawing of 6 sailing vessels, a smaller boat with rowers in foreground, ink and watercolor, red ink border, 10¾ x 7 3/8 in.
1. "La Durance," a three-masted sailing vessel, ink and watercolor, 13 x 15½ in. folding. (Damaged: dark stains from old tape repairs to tears at folds, one edge closely trimmed.)
2. Mariner's compass, ink and watercolor, ink border, folding, 9 5/8 x 12¾ in.
3. Eight ocean fish, decorative cartouche enclosing their names, ink and watercolor, 10 x 13¼ folding, minute ink inscription "en 1729 Caillot" at bottom corner.
4. Bird's-eye view of colonial port (probably Port-Au Prince), with island fortess and ships at anchor, ink and watercolor, 9 x 12¼ in. folding.
5. "Noms de Poissons," with decorative cartouche enclosing the names, one a sea tortoise, the ship "La Durance" at center, ink and watercolor, 9¾ x 12¾ in., folding, minute inscription "en 1729 Caillot" at bottom right
6. "Poissons" with decorative cartouche enclosing the names, ink and watercolor, 9¾ x 12 7/8 in., folding, minute inscription "en 1729 Caillot" at bottom right. (Old repair at center fold.)
7. "Plan de la Nouvelle Orleans, dessignée le 14 fevrier 1731," ink and watercolor, 9 7/8 x 13 5/8 in., folding. (Fold tear, 1¾ in length at bottom, affecting one letter of key.
8. "Carte Particuliere de L'Embouchure du Fleuve Mississippy," ink and watercolor, 11½ x 15¾ in., folding. (Clean tear along left-hand margin).
9. "Le Saint Louis" [a sailing vessel], dated 20 June 1731, ink and watercolor, 14½ x 9¾ in, folding. (Old reinforcement of center fold).
10. "Plan de la Guerre de Natchez," with decorative cartouche enclosing the key, ink and watercolor, 14 3/16 x 17¾ in., folding, minute ink inscription "fait le 23 7bre 1730 Caillot." (A few stains in one corner).
11. "Plan du Fort Sauvage des Natchez," with key, ink and watercolor, 14½ x 18 5/8 in., folding. (Several tears at left margin, with small losses along a 4-in. section, several backed with tissue).
Caillot's polished and very readable account commences with his eventful journey from Paris (on 19 February 1729) to L'Orient, where he embarked on board "La Durance," an armed merchantman belonging to "La Compagnie des Indes et des Colonies d'Orient," bound for the New World. Throughout the voyage and visit to the New World, Caillot, an avid amateur naturalist, observes and describes many different species of fish, birds, fruits and trees. During a brief stop at Sainte-Domingue (one of the uncaptioned folding plates is a fine early view of present-day Port-au-Prince). Caillot notes that the settlement is "plutôt un village qu'une ville," and describes the costume of the residents, the large slave population, the church, and the houses of palm and banana leaves. "La Durance" sets sail again, and a few days later, "nous vimes la terre du Mississipy par 16 brasses d'eau du coste de l'isle Ste. Roze, et Pensacola...et...la Mobille (pp.89-90). He arrivs at New Orleans on 13 July 1729 and is presented to de Perrier, "commandant general de la Province de la Louisiane." At the commencement of his "Relation du Mississipy," Caillot names enumerates military, judiciary and civil officers in charge of the colony. The recently built church of St. Louis, he notes, is "batie en bois et briquetée en dedans, longue de 144 pieds sur 60 p.de large." The layout of New Orleans, he terms "un ouvrage fort beau pour le pays"; and praises "la beauté des bâtiments qu'y sy élevent que par alignment des rues, et aussy d'une levée longue," which "garentit la ville de l'inondation de fleuve." He describes in considerable detail the fort, the magazine, the two hospitals, a residence for Capuchine priests, the newly founded Ursuline Convent, the promenade along the levee, the government offices, place des armes, mercantile shops and residential blocks. (These edifices are carefully rendered in his detailed city plan.) He adds that "Il y a a cette ville 14 rues sans compter le quay. Elles sont toutes tirées au cordeau; les maisons y sont baties en bois, faute de pierres, mais depuis un an l'on c'est mis dans le gou de batire en brique, et au lieux de plastres ils se servent de chaux qui est faite avec le coquillage..." The population, he reports, consists of over 1600, of whom some 400 are able to bear arms, plus a garrison of 4 companies (200 troops). He also observes that New Orleans possesses "plusiers auberges et cabarets ou l'on nest assez bien servi, mais aussi étrillé." He observes with satisfaction that "il est bien certain que si la compagnie des Indes envoyait seulement 2000 negres avec des blancs a proportion, on veroit un second St. Dominge renaitre dans ce pays, et meilleur pour la santé l'air e étant plus temperée." Ascending the river, Caillot's details the "Divers nations qui habitent le long de fleuve" (the Missisippi), describing Chacouchas, Bayagoulas, a settlement of German immigrants, the fortified village of Natchitoches on the Red River.
Continuing up the Mississippi, he describes "Yasoux" (Yazoo), a village of the Arkansas tribe, another of "les Missouris," and, 500 miles up the river, Illinois ("le poste de Islinois"). Turning to the East, Caillot surveys French settlements at "Biloxy" and Mobile, and names Indian tribes including "les Alibamons" "Terrapoussas," "Chactas" (Choctaws) and "Caouitas." Much of the remainder of his extensive account (and several large folding maps) concerns the bloody conflict between the French colonists and the Natchez tribes, especially the Natchez massacre (at Fort Rosalie, 28 November 1729) and its aftermath. Additional sections include "Habillements des Sauvages et de leur Moers" (p.128), "Des Poissons qui sont dans le fleuve Mississipy" (p.131) and "Des Animaux de terre et de bois" (p.134). Concluding his remarkable first-hand account, Caillot records his re-embarkation from New Orleans, on "Le Sainte Louis," 4 May 1731.