PASCAUD, ANTOINE, merchant; b. 18 April 1729 in Bordeaux, France, to Guillaume Pascaud, a merchant, and Marie-Anne Baulos; d. January 1786.
Through his paternal grandparents, Jean Pascaud and Anne Puyperouse, Antoine Pascaud was related to the well-known family of Antoine Pascaud* at La Rochelle. His father’s elder brother, Jean Pascaud, held the royal office of lawyer in the parlement of Paris. Antoine’s parents had brought a total of 42,000 livres to their marriage on 3 Dec. 1726, and during Antoine’s childhood his father was the principal Bordeaux agent for their La Rochelle cousins’ extensive trade with Canada. When the father suffered the reverses of fortune that were to lead him into bankruptcy in May 1753, Antoine and his brother Jean went to Canada where Jean married Élisabeth de Cournoyer of Louisbourg, Île Royale (Cape Breton Island) at Quebec on 10 April 1752. Meanwhile, another brother, Pierre, went to the West Indies and took up the slave trade.
It is not clear when Antoine Pascaud first came to Canada, but in the early 1750s he was importing food. In February 1754, when food was short, he travelled overland from Quebec to New York to obtain about 360 bushels of flour for Canada and Île Royale. By so bravely finding food at such a critical moment Pascaud won high praise from Governor Duquesne, Jacques Prevost de La Croix, financial commissary at Louisbourg, and other authorities.
Pascaud’s activities in Canada were at the beginning of a long career in supplying the French navy and other maritime trading. During the Seven Years’ War he worked in the West Indies and immediately after the war became supply merchant to the new and short-lived colony in French Guiana which the crown hoped might take root and flourish as a substitute for the lost colonies of 11e Royale and Canada. When this project failed, Pascaud was arrested by order of 18 Sept. 1767 and imprisoned in the Bastille with the Guiana officials. In a case reminiscent of the affaire du Canada [see François Bigot] they were all charged with profiteering and defrauding the crown. Pascaud was released on 9 Aug. 1768 to go into exile on a property that he owned near Aubeterre in Angoumois (Aubeterre-sur-Dronne, dept of Charente). He then claimed to have been ruined, but in the American War of Independence was again supplying the French colonies on a large scale, sending out many ships and making secret international payments for the crown at his headquarters in Paris.
Antoine Pascaud is typical of the businessmen who worked in the French colonial field, and as a member of the Pascaud family has a special interest in that he puts the affairs of Canada in a larger perspective.
AD, Gironde (Bordeaux), Minutes Janeau (Bordeaux), 23 nov. 1726. AN, Col., E, 330 (dossier Pascaud). Archives municipales, Bordeaux (dép. de la Gironde, France), État civil, Saint-André, 20 avril 1729. Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, Archives de la Bastille, 12324, ff.215ff. Jean Tarrade, Le commerce colonial de la France à la fin de l’ancien régime: l’évolution du régime de l’Exclusif de 1763 à 1789 (2v., Paris, 1972), II.