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Guide to the Viscount de la Belinaye Papers

MSN/COL 0503

 

Collection Summary

Title: Viscount de la Belinaye papers
Dates: 1764-1792
Collection No.: MSN/COL 0503
Creator: Belinaye, Maurice-René, Viscount de la
Extent: 25 folders; 1 container and 1 flat storage container; 2 linear feet
Language: Collection material in French
Repository: University of Notre Dame. Hesburgh Libraries, Department of Special Collections. 102 Hesburgh Library, Notre Dame, IN 46556
Abstract: 68 manuscript business letters and documents relating mainly to the Saint-Domingue property holdings of Maurice-René, Viscount de la Belinaye as they were managed by a mercantile house under Stanislas Foäche in Cap-Français (modern-day Cap-Haïtien, Haiti) between 1775 and 1790.

Selected Search Terms

Haiti -- History -- To 1791.
Caribbean Area -- Commerce -- History.
Belinaye, Maurice-René, Viscount de la (1739-1794).
Foäche, Stanislas Pierre (1737-1806).

Administrative Information

Restrictions: There are no access restrictions on this collection

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], Viscount de la Belinaye papers, [Collection and folder no.], Rare Books and Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame.

Acquisition and Processing Note: The Viscount de la Belinaye papers were purchased by the Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame in 2017, from Michael Brown Rare Books (list number 138 item 22). Arranged, described, and finding aid by Kathryn Rose Sawyer, 2017.

Biographical Note

Maurice-René, Viscount de la Belinaye (1739-1794), was from Fougères in Brittany. Belinaye was first captain and then lieutenant colonel in the Régiment de Dragons de la Reine (Dragoons of the Queen). He appears to have inherited his property in Saint-Domingue through his wife, Louise Gravelle (b. ca. 1724), who was the sole heir of her father Simon Lelouable, a lawyer in the Superior Council in Cap Français. With the onset of the Revolution Belinaye and his family emigrated to England (1790). According to a 1794 letter written from Belinaye's brother Charles to George Washington, Belinaye returned to France from London in 1792 when his family ran out of money. After hearing nothing from him the family learned through the public papers that Belinaye had been guillotined. A notice of his death sentence appears in issue 281 of the Gazette Nationale ou Le Moniteur Universel (Paris), 11 Messidor 2e (29 June 1794). Belinaye's daughter, Louise de la Belinaye, became Marquise de Belloy through her husband Nicolas-Séraphin, Marquis de Belloy. She was named his sole heir in a claim for her father's estate in 1826.

Stanislas Pierre Foäche (1737-1806), a slave trader and business agent (négociant) in Cap-Français, Saint-Domingue (modern-day Cap-Haïtien, Haiti), was from a family of traders in Le Havre, France. His father, Martin-Pierre Foäche (1687-1762), was a merchant captain before establishing a trading business in Le Havre with an outpost in Saint-Domingue. His sons Martin Pierre (1728-1816) and Stanislas served in turn as heads of the Saint-Domingue company. Stanislas quickly became one of the premier agents in the colony, managing a number of property interests for absentee landlords in France, including the Belinayes. Stanislas Foäche also owned 584 slaves and a 600-hectare plantation with a sugar-making operation in Jean-Rabel, just west of the Cap, as well as a company in Le Havre. Like many of the whites in Saint-Domingue, Foäche was a Protestant, and was regularly forced to pay fines for not serving in offices for the Catholic Church, the established religion in the colony. He and his family emigrated to London in 1796, where they remained until 1802.

Scope and Content Note

This collection is a selection of the personal papers of Maurice-René, Viscount de la Belinaye, mainly relating to houses he owned in Cap-Français. The houses were managed by a mercantile establishment under the agent and slave trader Stanislas Foäche, who oversaw Belinaye's business interests in the Cap between 1775 and 1790. Foäche's agency was known first as Stanislas Foäche et Compagnie, then Stanislas Foäche, Hellot et Compagnie, and finally Stanislas Foäche, P. Morange et Compagnie; notices of the change of business name appear in the collection. Belinaye inherited his property in Saint Domingue through his wife, Louise Gravelle, who was the sole heir of her father Simon Lelouable, a lawyer in the Upper Council in Cap Français. The death of Lelouable and Belinaye's inheritance of his papers are documented in the first two folders of this collection. The bulk of the collection consists of account sheets and accompanying letters from Foäche about Belinaye's assets in the Cap, describing the company's efforts at maintaining and leasing his houses, court cases between Belinaye and tenants, the problems created by the billeting of officers in houses during the Anglo-French War (1778-1783), and the issues surrounding the transmission of payments between Saint-Domingue and France. The final folder in this collection includes similar papers that relate to the business interests of Belinaye and his wife in Cádiz and Saint-Malo. There is no mention of slavery in the documents aside from some slaves being listed among the possessions of Lelouable in MSN/COL 0503-02. Some of the letters include integral address leaves but most do not, though the entire collection appears to consist of copies retained by Belinaye. All the documents carry markings in their upper left corners that seem to indicate a numerical filing system.

Arrangement Note

Arrangement of the collection is mainly chronological, with multiple items per folder.

Container List

  • Certificates for the death of Simon Lelouable, 1763 November 25 and December 1. Folder 1 (MSN/COL 0503-01)
    3 items.
    Documents attesting the death and burial of Simon Lelouable by the resident priest Joseph Nolanque Maynor. Two documents in Spanish, and an attested French translation of them.
    • Records related to the succession of Simon Lelouable, 1768-1769. Folder 2 (MSN/COL 0503-02-F1)
      3 items.
      Papers related to the succession of Simon Lelouable following his death in 1763. Included is a bill of sale for a house sold by his son Joseph Louis Lelouable (b. 1722), dated 22 April 1768; an act of deposit of 2 bags of Lelouable's papers at the courts administration office by Viscount de la Belinaye, dated 25 February 1769; and a numbered inventory of the papers relating to 77 items left in the care of the négociant Dufresne Dupontbriant by Belinaye, dated 16 May 1769.
      • Records of accounts of Viscount de la Belinaye, 1770-1775. Folder 3 (MSN/COL 0503-03-F1)
        2 items.
        Account statement of Viscount de la Belinaye's holdings under Dufresne Dupontbriant, dated 18 December 1770; and account statement of Viscount de la Belinaye's holdings under Menard du Boiscollin, dated 29 April 1775.
        • Stanislas Foäche: Procuration of Viscount de la Belinaye's accounts, 1775 May 6. Folder 4 (MSN/COL 0503-04)
          1 item.
          Manuscript document giving the conditions under which Stanislas Foäche, an agent (négociant) in Cap-Français, Saint-Domingue, will take charge of Viscount de la Belinaye's holdings. Dated 6 May 1776 at Fougères, France. A notation on the front page in Belinaye's hand erroneously dates the document to 3 May 1775.
          • Stanislas Foäche et Compagnie: letter to Viscount de la Belinaye at Fougères, France, with enclosed account statement, 1776 February 23 and March 1. Folder 5 (MSN/COL 0503-05-F1)
            2 items.
            Manuscript letter from Stanislas Foäche and Company at Cap-Français to Viscount de la Belinaye at Fougères, France. Foäche explains the variations in currency valuation due to the fluctuations in the market for sugar, cotton, indigo, and coffee. They have not succeeded in selling any of Belinaye's houses; only one person has looked and did not make an offer. He asks Belinaye's wishes on the matter and recommends changing his price if he wants to sell. He encloses an account statement for Belinaye's holdings dated 23 February 1776.
            • Stanislas Foäche et Compagnie: letter to Viscount de la Belinaye at Fougères, France, 1776 December 6. Folder 6 (MSN/COL 0503-06)
              1 item.
              Manuscript letter from Stanislas Foäche and Company at Cap-Français to Viscount de la Belinaye at Fougères, France. Foäche has received Belinaye's letter of 19 May (1776). He gives details on repairs needed for the houses Belinaye wants to sell and the difficulty of one tenant in paying his rent. Foäche details the best way for Belinaye to receive his payment in various forms (paper notes, foodstuffs) and the timing for getting the best rate. A note at the top in Belinaye's hand indicates that he responded on 15 March 1777.
              • Stanislas Foäche et Compagnie: account statement for Viscount de la Belinaye, 1777 March 30. Folder 7 (MSN/COL 0503-07)
                1 item.
                Manuscript signed statement of account from Stanislas Foäche and Company for Viscount de la Belinaye, dated 30 March 1777.
                • Stanislas Foäche et Compagnie: letters to Viscount de la Belinaye at Fougères, France, 1777 May 30 and October 4. Folder 8 (MSN/COL 0503-08)
                  2 items.
                  Manuscript letters from Stanislas Foäche and Company at Cap-Français to Viscount de la Belinaye at Fougères, France. The letter of May 30 explains that they have been unable to find buyers for Belinaye's houses. One of the houses is in such bad repair that they despair of finding a renter at the price Belinaye wants. They detail the repairs needed and offer Belinaye three options for proceeding on the house. A note at the top in Belinaye's hand indicates that he responded on 22 July 1777. The letter of 4 October says they have received Belinaye's letters of 26 March and 24 June. They detail how they will proceed based on Belinaye's instructions about the houses. Belinaye should not worry about the missing rent because they receive payments from a woman named "la Mulatresse" Zabeau who is living in one of the houses with no lease. They explain the distribution of church tithes and other taxes, and give news about the payments of his other renters.
                  • Stanislas Foäche et Compagnie: letter to Viscount de la Belinaye at Fougères, France, with enclosed account statement and bill, 1777 November 28. Folder 9 (MSN/COL 0503-09-F1)
                    3 items.
                    Manuscript letter from Stanislas Foäche and Company at Cap-Français to Viscount de la Belinaye at Fougères, France. They detail charges including a shipment of eight boucauds of coffee. They have secured a three-year lease from Zabeau and the rent is guaranteed by a négociant of the town. They explain that the promised rent of the tenant mentioned in their previous letter has not yet been paid and thus does not appear on the account. There are serious repairs that need to be done to the house occupied by Marguerite Ensalle, and they will proceed as always with utmost frugality and only doing what is strictly necessary. They enclose a statement of his account. A bill for eight boucauds of coffee, referred to in the letter, is also included in the folder.
                    • Stanislas Foäche, Hellot et Compagnie: letters to Viscount de la Belinaye at Fougères, France, 1778 June 13 and December 30. Folder 10 (MSN/COL 0503-10)
                      3 items.
                      Manuscript letters from Stanislas Foäche, Hellot and Company at Cap-Français to Viscount de la Belinaye at Fougères, France. The letter of 13 June indicates that they have received Belinaye's letter of 25 February. They give updates on the repairs to Zabeau's house, on renters in another of Belinaye's houses, and on their efforts to claim rent in arrears from a former tenant, in which they are hampered by ongoing preparations for war. They give details about the ways in which they can send Belinaye's funds to France, depending on the growing movement towards a declaration of war. A note at the top in Belinaye's hand indicates that he responded on 25 October 1778. The letter of 30 December gives details on the sale of two houses, and includes a brief statement of account. There is a second copy of the letter of 30 December included in the folder.
                      • Stanislas Foäche, Hellot et Compagnie: letter to Viscount de la Belinaye [at Fougères, France], with enclosed account statements, 1779 December 22. Folder 11 (MSN/COL 0503-11-F1)
                        3 items.
                        Manuscript letter from Stanislas Foäche and Company at Cap-Français to Viscount de la Belinaye. They have not yet been paid by the crown for having rented one of Belinaye's houses to a grenadier, nor for the repairs they were forced to make after he left in order to return it to a rentable state. They give news of a new tenant and a new three-year lease for the house. There has not yet been a judgment in his case against Cockburn and Marguerite Ensalle. They give updates on other houses and tenants, including one house that was sold but whose owner is complaining about a blocked-up ravine alongside it, and constant repairs to another house. They enclose an account statement dated 22 December, of which there are two copies in the folder.
                        • Stanislas Foäche, Hellot et Compagnie: letters to Viscount de la Belinaye at Fougères, France, 1780 May 3 and August 2. Folder 12 (MSN/COL 0503-12)
                          2 items.
                          Manuscript letters from Stanislas Foäche, Hellot and Company at Cap-Français to Viscount de la Belinaye at Fougères, France. The letter of 3 May indicates that they have received Belinaye's letter of 25 November and they discuss the means of sending Belinaye's payment to him following a faulty payment. They give several updates on rents and tenants, including the billeting of soldiers in his houses at their expense. They give updates on methods of payment to him, and also say that they have refused to pay notes signed Le Loüable; they await his wishes about this. A note at the top in Belinaye's hand indicates that he responded on 13 August 1780. The letter of 2 August indicates that they have received Belinaye's letter of 9 January. They give the going rates of sugar, indigo, and coffee and discuss official fees and requirements for shipping. They have received orders to rent one of Belinaye's houses to a captain; they remind him of what it costs and how little they are being reimbursed by the crown and remind him also that it would be much more advantageous for him to get an exemption from billeting for his houses, without which they expect a great reduction in his revenues. There has finally been a judgment about the problem of the blocked channel between the two houses that they sold and Zabeau was found at fault. They are doing repairs to a house that is very unstable in the wind.
                          • Stanislas Foäche, Hellot et Compagnie: account statement for Viscount de la Belinaye, 1780 December 31. Folder 13 (MSN/COL 0503-13-F1)
                            1 item.
                            Manuscript signed statement of account from Stanislas Foäche and Company for Viscount de la Belinaye, dated 31 December 1780.
                            • Stanislas Foäche, P. Morange et Compagnie: letters to Viscount de la Belinaye at St-Germain-en-Laye, France, and draft of a personal letter from Belinaye, 1782 May 24 and August 6. Folder 14 (MSN/COL 0503-14)
                              2 items.
                              Partly printed document dated 15 May 1782, informing Belinaye that N. S. Hellot has retired and Stanislas Foäche, Hellot et Compagnie has been reincorporated as Stanislas Foäche, P. Morange et Compagnie. On the same folded sheet is a manuscript signed letter from Stanislas Foäche, P. Morange et Compagnie to Belinaye at his residence at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France. They have received his letters of last 19 October and 22 November. The crown has lifted the requirement for billeting officers. They include a brief update on his accounts and his court cases against Zabeau, Marguerite Ensalle and Cockburn. The second document is a copy of the manuscript letter, and a note at the top in Belinaye's hand indicates that he replied on 15 August 1782. On the back of that sheet is a draft dated 6 August of a personal letter in Belinaye's hand to an acquaintance.
                              • Stanislas Foäche, P. Morange et Compagnie: letter to Viscount de la Belinaye at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, with enclosed account statements, 1782 May 14 and August 22. Folder 15 (MSN/COL 0503-15-F1)
                                3 items.
                                Manuscript letter from Stanislas Foäche, P. Morange and Company at Cap-Français to Viscount de la Belinaye at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France. They have been extremely busy since the beginning of the year and so were unable to send him his account update for the previous year; they enclose it here, prolonged to the date 14 May 1782, the last date of their previous company. The government has repaid some of the difference that had been lost in the billeting of officers. There is such a backlog of cases in the Superior Council that his cases against Zabeau, Marguerite Ensalle, and Cockburn have still not been determined and there is little they can do but wait their turn. They enclose an account statement dated 14 May, of which there are two copies in the folder.
                                • Stanislas Foäche, P. Morange et Compagnie: letters to Viscount de la Belinaye at St-Germain-en-Laye, France, with enclosed account statements, 1782 December 31 and 1783 April 14. Folder 16 (MSN/COL 0503-16-F1)
                                  4 items.
                                  Two copies of a manuscript letter from Stanislas Foäche, P. Morange and Company at Cap-Français to Viscount de la Belinaye at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France. They have received the two letters he wrote on 23 August and 22 December 1782 that did not arrive until 12 March. Foodstuffs will only sell at a loss in France so they will pay him in the King's paper money, which still has very good credit. They wish they could give him news of his case against the three tenants but the council is so backlogged that nothing has been done yet. One of the letters includes a note at the top in Belinaye's hand indicating that he replied on 2 June 1783, and the other includes an integral address leaf and seal. They enclose an account statement dated 31 December 1782, of which there are two copies in the folder.
                                  • Stanislas Foäche, P. Morange et Compagnie: letter to Viscount de la Belinaye at St-Germain-en-Laye, France, with enclosed account statement, 1783 December 31 and 1784 February 10. Folder 17 (MSN/COL 0503-17-F1)
                                    2 items.
                                    Two copies of a manuscript letter from Stanislas Foäche, P. Morange and Company at Cap-Français to Viscount de la Belinaye at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France. They can finally give news of a judgment in the court cases; the gains from the one against Marguerite Ensalle, Cockburn, and Lamartre will be enough to cover what was ruled against him in the case with Zabeau, and the company will take care of it. They give details about the renewal of tenants' leases for three years and how they will send him the money they owe him. They continue with repairs on one of the houses whose doors and windows are in terrible condition but raising the rent will cover the cost without eating into his revenue. A note at the top in Belinaye's hand indicates that he replied on 24 May 1784 and the letter includes an integral address leaf and seal. They enclose an account statement dated 31 December 1783.
                                    • Stanislas Foäche, P. Morange et Compagnie: letters to Viscount de la Belinaye at St-Germain-en-Laye, France, 1784 March 30 and August 4. Folder 18 (MSN/COL 0503-18)
                                      2 items.
                                      Two manuscript letters from Stanislas Foäche, P. Morange and Company at Cap-Français to Viscount de la Belinaye at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France. The letter of 30 March gives details about the means of sending payments to France. A note at the top in Belinaye's hand indicates that he replied on 6 November 1784. The letter of 4 August indicates that they have received his letter from last May. All the costs of the court cases against Zabeau, Ensalle, and Cockburn have been reimbursed to him. They detail a disagreement and resolution with a tenant about the length of his lease and the repairs needed to that tenant's house. A note at the top in Belinaye's hand indicates that he replied on 6 November 1784.
                                      • Stanislas Foäche, P. Morange et Compagnie: letters to Viscount de la Belinaye at St-Germain-en-Laye, France, with enclosed account statements and list of repairs, 1784 December 31 to 1786 February 6. Folder 19 (MSN/COL 0503-19-F1)
                                        6 items.
                                        Manuscript letters from Stanislas Foäche, P. Morange and Company at Cap-Français to Viscount de la Belinaye at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, with accompanying account statements. The letter of 12 January 1785 gives details on the repairs needed for two of Belinaye's houses as well as further details on the misunderstanding about lease terms with the tenant mentioned in their previous letter. They enclose an account statement dated 31 December 1784 and a note at the top of the letter in Belinaye's hand indicates that he replied on 27 April 1785. The letter of 22 July 1785 has an integral address leaf. They have just received Belinaye's letter of last 27 April. They give updates about the cost, type, and length of repairs to one of the houses and on lighter repairs for another house, and updates on other leases. They enclose an itemized list of repairs to the house discussed in the first part of the letter, and a note at the top of the letter in Belinaye's hand indicates that he replied on 27 December 1785. In the letter of 6 February they give updates on possible methods of payment and details about his account. They enclose an account statement dated 31 December 1785 and a note at the top of the letter in Belinaye's hand indicates that he replied on 2 April 1786.
                                        • Stanislas Foäche, P. Morange et Compagnie: letter to Viscount de la Belinaye at St-Germain-en-Laye, France, 1787 January 1. Folder 20 (MSN/COL 0503-20)
                                          1 item.
                                          Partly printed document dated 1 January 1787, informing Belinaye that Mr. Lefebvre has retired to France and the company has been reincorporated as Stanislas Foäche, P. Morange et Hardivillier. A note at the top in Belinaye's hand indicates that he replied on 5 May 1787.
                                          • Stanislas Foäche, P. Morange et Hardivillier: letter to Viscount de la Belinaye at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, with enclosed account statements, 1786 December 31 to 1787 December 31. Folder 21 (MSN/COL 0503-21-F1)
                                            3 items.
                                            Manuscript letters from Stanislas Foäche, P. Morange and Hardivillier at Cap-Français to Viscount de la Belinaye at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France. They detail the difficulties they encountered in attempting to send him payment as well as their difficulties in finding a tenant for one of his houses that is in bad repair. Two tenants are late on their rent but they are not surprised because the rarity of money is such that even the best tenants are overdue. A note at the top in Belinaye's hand indicates that he replied on 5 May 1787. They enclose an account statement dated 31 December 1786. A second account statement dated 31 December 1787 was also erroneously enclosed in this letter.
                                            • Stanislas Foäche, P. Morange et Hardivillier: letter to Viscount de la Belinaye at St-Germain-en-Laye, France, shipping receipt, and notes, 1788 February 9 to June 30(?). Folder 22 (MSN/COL 0503-22)
                                              3 items.
                                              Manuscript letter from Stanislas Foäche, P. Morange and Hardivillier at Cap-Français to Viscount de la Belinaye at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, with integral address leaf. His nephews are returning to France and have agreed to carry back 500 gourdes piastres with them. A note at the top in Belinaye's hand indicates that he replied on 4 October 1788. Enclosed is a shipping receipt from one of the nephews. Also in this folder is a description of the rent situation and physical condition of each of Belinaye's three houses and "Instructions of 30 June 1788" added at the top in Belinaye's hand.
                                              • Stanislas Foäche, P. Morange et Hardivillier: letter to Viscount de la Belinaye at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, with enclosed account statements, 1788 December 31 to 1789 August 28. Folder 23 (MSN/COL 0503-23-F1)
                                                3 items.
                                                Manuscript letters from Stanislas Foäche, P. Morange and Hardivillier at Cap-Français to Viscount de la Belinaye at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France. They have received his letters of last 2 November, 4 October, and 11 April. They detail the repairs necessary to sell one of his houses as he wishes. They go into detail about their services for Belinaye thus far in an apparent defense against complaints from Belinaye and his wife about their work. They enclose an account statement dated 31 December 1788. Also included in the folder is an account statement dated 28 August 1789 on which Belinaye has written "erroneous" at the top and explained the errors on the back.
                                                • Demonhaison, Lelong, et Compagnie: letter to unknown recipient, 1792 April 1. Folder 24 (MSN/COL 0503-24)
                                                  1 item.
                                                  Partly printed document dated 1 April 1792, announcing the merger of two companies into Monhaizon, Lelong, et Compagnie.
                                                  • Various papers relating to the holdings of Viscount and Madame de la Belinaye in Cádiz and Saint-Malo, 1774-1792. Folder 25 (MSN/COL 0503-25)
                                                    12 items.
                                                    Various letters, notes, and account statements relating to the holdings of Viscount de la Belinaye and his wife Louise Gravelle, Madame de la Belinaye in Cádiz and Saint-Malo. The items were bundled together but share the same docketing system as the papers elsewhere in this collection, suggesting that they may have been pulled from the main collection for a particular purpose. The sheet that carries the heading "Agenda for Madame de la Belinaye" at the top in Belinaye's hand was not included in this original bundle.