PARIS, BERNARD, ship’s captain; b. 1708 in Plaisance (Placentia, Nfld.), the eldest child of Antoine Paris and Renée Boucher; m. 25 May 1758 in Louisbourg, Île Royale (Cape Breton Island), to Marie-Anne Le Blanc; d. April 1760 in La Rochelle, France.
The Paris family was among those that retired from Placentia after its cession to Great Britain in 1713 to form the nucleus of settlement at Louisbourg. At the age of 19 Bernard was already working for his father and his father’s Quebec partner Perrault – perhaps François Perrault. He commanded their bateau the Saint-Pierre, which carried the peas, wheat, flour, and wood of Canada to Louisbourg where they were exchanged for return cargoes of West Indian rum, molasses, sugar, and fruits. But Antoine had more ambitious plans for his business and for his son. In 1729 he launched a 90-ton schooner, the Marie-Magdelaine. Bernard became its captain, sailing between Louisbourg, the West Indies, and Bordeaux. The letters of Antoine’s Bordeaux correspondent, Jean Jung, attest to Bernard’s good character and intelligence, complain of his youthful extravagance (at Bordeaux he had the schooner rerigged as a snow, “the prettiest ship in the river and the best equipped”), and comment on his lack of experience. Bernard brought the ship home from its third voyage in 1731; it was sold following his father’s death on 3 November.
Bernard next claims our attention as a ship’s captain for Robert Dugard et Cie of Rouen for whom he made several voyages between 1738 and 1744. He commanded the company’s Ville de Québec, which sailed between Canada and France via Louisbourg in 1738, and its Saint-Louis and Imprévû in 1739 and 1740 respectively, on their maiden voyages from Quebec to Louisbourg and Le Havre. In 1742 he took the Imprévû to Martinique. The following year he captained the Trois Maries from Honfleur to Quebec and Louisbourg; it was sunk under him on the return voyage after a collision with the Brillant belonging to the Compagnie des Indes. Thus it was not impossible for a colonial to find employment with a large metropolitan company.
Although Bernard’s connection with Dugard ceased after the War of the Austrian Succession, when the company abandoned the North American trade [see Havy], he was thereafter employed by other French shipowners. His name recurs from time to time in notarial and port records, as in 1751, for example, when he is described as a resident of La Rochelle and captain of the Saint-Sebastien. The record of his marriage in 1758 describes him as still a resident of Louisbourg and still a ship’s captain. After a second capture of the town by British forces, this time under Jeffery Amherst*, he and his wife moved to La Rochelle where he died two years later.
[AN, 62 AQ, 31(François Havy à Robert Dugard, 7 juin 1760, La Rochelle); Section Outre-Mer, G1, 406, f.55v; 409, f.44; G2, 180, ff.560–98 (includes letters to Antoine Paris from Perrault, almost certainly the well-known merchant François Perrault, but after the custom of the time signed only by the surname); 181, ff.45–393 (févr. 1732 à 1736, succession Antoine Paris, négociant); G3, 2041/1 (4 mai 1751).
Voyages for Dugard et Cie. have been pieced together from the following sources: AD, Gironde (Bordeaux), 6B, 96, f.98; 387. AN, 62 AQ, 40 (Havy et Lefebvre, Québec, compte courant, 1738; Havy et Lefebvre, Québec, compte général de balance); 41 (Robert Dugard, compte courant avec Fautoux de Louisbourg; papiers de cargaison, Trois Maries, 1744); 43 (papiers de cargaison, Imprévû et Imprévû, compte courant avec Renault); 45 (Robert Dugard, compte courant avec Leukens, 1741–1742; prêt à la grosse avanture, 3 avril 1742); Col., B, 73, f.133; 75, f.127; C8B, 20; C11A, 70, f.167; 71, f.182; 72, f.78; 73, f.411; 75, f.83; 76, f.322; 81, f.260; F2B, 11. ANQ, NF, Ord. int., XXIX, 3 avril, 16 juin 1741.