MEMOIR ON THE DEFENSE OF THE ISLES AND THE... - Lot 130 - Maison R&C, Commissaires-Priseurs Associés

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MEMOIR ON THE DEFENSE OF THE ISLES AND THE... - Lot 130 - Maison R&C, Commissaires-Priseurs Associés
MEMOIR ON THE DEFENSE OF THE ISLES AND THE PORT OF THE SEYCHELLES 1787 Anonymous manuscript written in Seychelles on April 2, 1787, 14 folio pages written in brown ink on wove paper bound with a blue ribbon. (38,5x23cm) The importance of the Port of Seychelles considered under the political point of view is a matter that I will only allow myself to examine with a lot of mistrust of my opinion. I want that when one reflects on the inconveniences of the defense of this port, one regrets that it exists; it is thus very delicate to balance with justness the reasons which must prescribe its conservation or abandonment. The Seychelles Islands will probably never become very interesting either for agriculture or for the trade that could be established there;But it is no less certain that their port offers a healthy and convenient wintering place for vessels that one would be afraid to keep at Isle de France during the bad season, than it is a place of precious refreshment for vessels that, coming from the African coasts, could not, for lack of food or because of the illnesses of their slaves and crews, go straight to Isle de France. It is even less certain that this port can serve as a meeting point for ships on a cruise, or for a squadron that would be in charge of some great undertaking in India, that this same port would be an excellent refuge for such a squadron if it had suffered some unfortunate setback either in India, or on the Isle of France, or finally if the port of the latter island were blocked or fell into the power of the enemy;but could not the port of the Seychelles still be used in such circumstances to evacuate the troops and the most precious effects of the Isle of France and of India, and even powerfully to take back possessions from the enemy? [...] It has already been said that it was impossible to block the entrance to the Port of Seychelles, so it only remains to speak of its defense; its project to be established according to two inseparable objects, namely the conservation of the Port and the vessels linked to that of the fortifications [...If the ships anchored in Seychelles were in sufficient numbers and in sufficient strength to compete with the enemy for the entrance to the port, the fortifications should be arranged in such a way as to contribute with these ships to do the greatest possible harm to the enemy. If the vessels anchored in this port were inferior in strength and were obliged to place themselves under the protection of the land, then the fortifications must fulfill the double purpose of defending our vessels and inconveniencing those of the enemy and working together to harm him by defending themselves [...] In all cases the fortifications of the port must also, as is well understood, provide for the conservation of the neighboring islands and, at the same time, for those of the inhabitants, slaves and the stores of the King and the inhabitants .In order to fulfill all these objectives at the same time, I can only see Isle Ste Anne as being suitable for the establishment of a fortress capable of making the greatest resistance... The type of troops most suitable for the defense of Isle Seychelles would be Creole volunteers and free blacks. It seems that it would be sufficient to have a company of 70 men of one or the other, to which the same number of Cipayes would be added, and the garrison of Seychelles would also include the 100 men destined to defend the reef batteries. [The garrison of Isle Ste Anne would provide the detachments on Isle Moyenne, Isle Ronde, Isle longue and Isle aux Cerfs, and would consist of three hundred European soldiers, 300 Cipayes and 50 gunners, in all 650 men. That of Isle Seychelles would be 70 volunteers from Isle de France and Bourbon, 70 Cipayes and 100 European soldiers; it would provide the detachments for the redoubts built on the reefs and would be 240 men in all. It is necessary to add to this number 6 invalid gunners and 24 Cipayes detached to Praslin, thus the total of the garrison of the Seychelles Islands would go up to 920 men, namely 400 European soldiers, 50 gunners, 6 invalid gunners, 70 volunteers and 394 Cipayes[...The other islands of the archipelago do not deserve to be seriously occupied with their defense; the greatest harm that the enemy could do to them would be to burn the forests and to take away the turtle, if we had not taken in advance the party that I proposed to collect it on the Isle Ste Anne where it would be used to feed the troops in times of war There is only the Isle Praslin which is worthy of some attention because its anchorage could serve as a support and rallying point for the enemy when he would try to seize the Port of Seychelles. However, one could only prevent the enemy from making himself master of the Isle Praslin by doing very expensive work there and by sending troops that could be better employed elsewhere; this is why I did not think it necessary to propose
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