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Michel Bégon papers

Call Number: GEN MSS 1756
Scope and Contents

The collection contains correspondence, reports, journals, lists, pamphlets and broadsides, and other papers relating to Michel Bégon and French colonial administration in the Caribbean, French maritime commerce, foreign relations, domestic economic matters, and botany in the 17th century.

Reports concern expeditions led by Jean d'Estrées and other French naval officers during the Dutch War and War of the Grand Alliance, voyages of French ships to Africa and the West Indies, and commercial and military activities of other colonial powers, particularly Spain. The collection contains intelligence profiles on Spanish mining and trade of silver and salt, as well as the movements, structure, and economics of the Spanish fleet. Several reports are addressed to French Navy Secretary Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Marquis de Seignelay, and some were compiled for Bégon in his capacity as intendant of Saint-Domingue, and later La Rochelle. Other topics of reports include French relations with the Vatican and political developments in the Ottoman Empire. Also present are decrees, publications, correspondence, and writings related to horse breeding in France, and trade of tobacco, sugar, and chocolate.

The collection additionally contains journals, correspondence, and reports of Jean de la Mousse, a Jesuit missionary living among the Kalina people in French Guiana; an account of Spanish food offered to d'Estrées in Cadiz; and a journal detailing the voyage of a French ship to the West Indies, which contains references to slavery and the slave trade.

Language of Materials

In French, with a small amount of material in Italian.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research

Conditions Governing Use

The Michel Bégon Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of William S. Reese (Yale 1977), 2000, 2001. Purchased from William Reese Co. on the Library Associates Fund, 2001. Purchased from William Reese Co. on the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 2002, 2013.


Organized into four series: I. Correspondence, Reports, and Other Papers of Michel Bégon, circa 1651-1718. II. Letters and Reports from Jean de La Mousse, 1690-1695. III. Description des Repas Espangnols et Collations qu'on a Donne a Monsieur Le Comte D'Estrées à Cadiz, circa 1700. IV. Extrait du Journal du Sieur Boureau Pour L'Amerique, 1689.

Associated Materials

Other material by or relating to Michel Bégon (GEN MSS File 232, GEN MSS File 233, GEN MSS File 234) can be found by searching Orbis (Yale’s Online Catalog).

circa 1651-1718
3.72 Linear Feet (6 boxes)
Related Names
Begon, Michel, 1638-1710
Language of Materials