COMARMOND Nicolas Hilaire (1737 Lyon-1792... - Lot 128 - Maison R&C, Commissaires-Priseurs Associés

Lot 128
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COMARMOND Nicolas Hilaire (1737 Lyon-1792... - Lot 128 - Maison R&C, Commissaires-Priseurs Associés
COMARMOND Nicolas Hilaire (1737 Lyon-1792 Isle de France) [Trade in blacks, trade in Muscat] Memorandum on the trade of the eastern coast of Africa and the Persian Gulf. 1788 MANUSCRIT signed "Comarmond, Au Port (de Saint-Louis Isle de France), le 30 aoust 1788". In-folio of 8 unencumbered pages in brown ink (on watermarked laid paper) bound with a blue ribbon. "The minister having the intention to favor and extend the national trade to the eastern coast of Africa and in the Persian Gulf sent in 1785 the frigate Vénus; Mr. Le Comte de Rosily who commanded her consulted with MM. the administrators of the Isle de France on her mission. Their first concern was to find a merchant capable of the operations to be undertaken in the wake of the King's frigate. Their choice fell on Mr. Comarmond who had already been involved in this trade for several years. The details of the expeditions he made as a result will be the subject of a special report. This will include the clarifications that his experience authorizes him to present in order to support the beneficial views of the government. It is only in a very precarious manner that the French have been trading in blacks on the coast of Africa, where they have no establishment. The blacks who go to the places they visit are the refuse of the Portuguese possessions who sail along the coast, even as far as the Persian Gulf to complete their sale, when they do not encounter any of our vessels in the different areas where we land. Sometimes tolerated, sometimes opposed and repelled, either by the Portuguese, or by the Arabs spread along this coast, they are often in fear of missing their voyages, and always exposed to delays and difficulties, contributions and infinite uncertainties. To prevent this inconvenience, to take advantage of this new branch of commerce and to give it all the scope that it presents, it is in every respect convenient to make a national Establishment at the coast of Africa. Near the Cape of Elgada where the Portuguese possessions end is the bay of Mongalo [...] at a short distance from Mongalo, opposite the bay of India is the island of Cabassere which would be very suitable for a provisional establishment [...] In these positions, the French would be more central than the Portuguese. They could consequently flatter themselves to attract there preferably the trade of blacks, the goods and all the trade of exchanges of which this part is susceptible, to obtain the slaves of the first hand, to have them at better account than of these Portuguese establishments, and to be able to choose them and to be able to treat a sufficient quantity of them to provide our French colonies, either of America or of Eastern India Muscatte by the convenience of its port and its advantageous situation between the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, is the natural warehouse of the foodstuffs and rich productions of happy Arabia and the countries that surround it. This trade is already considerable and can become much more so if directed by a European establishment that would give it more activity and all the strength it needs. Until now no European has yet obtained the freedom to settle in Muscatte and the dispositions of the Iman are so favorable to the French that they can flatter themselves to be received there in preference to any other nation, especially when this Prince will have received the satisfactions that the Court ordered on the occasion of the taking of one of his richly loaded ships, surprised in the last war by a European corsair who did not profit from it. Taking advantage of the Iman's goodwill, an agent could be established in Mascatte who would essentially be in charge of gathering all the drugstores, dyes and other products of these regions from different places. If the King did not deem it appropriate to pay for this, the cost would be borne by the merchants who would profit from this trade. In Muscat, gums and various perfumes can be found in all quantities. Gall nuts, cockles of the east, vomit nuts, lacquers in leaves and grains, various essences, sulfur, saltpeter, sulfur flower, alum, cowries, donkeys, horses, morphil, ambers, dried fruits, [...The Arabs are the only ones who have been involved in this trade up to now. These products are brought back to them by small boats from the Persian Gulf, the Babelmandel Strait, Socotora and the entire coast of Ethiopia and part of the coast of Affrique Majeure. Part of these objects are sold and exchanged by the Banians to coasters who transport them to Coromandel, the Ganges, Suratte, Bombay, Cochin and other places of the Malabar Coast [...] Opposite the Mascattes, on the other side, going up the Persian Gulf, is the Indus River where one can mainly obtain rice and other grains that the Kingdom of S
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