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- Murder, Mutiny and Mayhem by O'shea, Joe
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Philip, who married an Irish woman called Anne White and had ten children, died on a later voyage to Africa. It was left to one of his sons, Antoine to get the real family business — slaving — off the ground. By the early s, the French port of Nantes, with a large, close-knit and hard-working Irish slave-trading community, became the chief slaving port for the kingdom of Louis XIV, the Sun King.
Manufactured goods, guns, textiles, liquor and knives, were brought from Nantes to the Slave Coast, exchanged for slaves who were transported to the French colonies of Guadeloupe, Martinique and Saint-Domingue modern Haiti where they were sold for sugar and tobacco, which then returned to Europe.
To their great credit, the merchants of Belfast, under the future United Irishman William Putnam McCabe, refused to take part in the inhuman slave trade. However, the merchant princes of Cork, Limerick and Waterford profited by victualling the ships, feeding the slavers and slaves alike to great reward and family fortune. Huge family fortunes were built in Cork, the city centre was rebuilt and some of those dynasties that were built on the backs and bellies of millions of slaves are still with us today. And so it went on for decades, with the wealth of nations and Empires built up on unimaginable human misery.
Antoine Walsh was, until he was comfortable enough to retire to an office job on land, a slave ship captain. The voyage, from France to East Africa and then across the Atlantic to the Caribbean, was long and perilous and those making it faced everything from disease and foul weather to the possibility of piracy and mutinous human cargoes.
By the early s, Walsh had seen enough of the disease ridden coast of East Africa and the dangers of the middle passage and promoted himself from slave-ship captain to slave merchant. Antoine had been lucky enough to avoid the bloody below-decks uprisings that claimed the lives of many slavers, including some of his employees and relatives. It was up to young Barnaby to rally the five sailors who could carry a gun and in the ensuing fight to regain the ship; two crewmen and forty slaves were killed.
In commercial terms, they had lost one-sixth of the cargo and Captain Shaughnessy was forced to tie up at Ouida until he had collected native men, women and children to transport in chains to Saint-Domingue and Martinique. Both Barnaby and Shaughnessy survived to have careers as slaver captains for Antoine.
Murder, Mutiny & Mayhem : The Blackest-Hearted Villains from Irish History
Antoine Walsh would suffer a major setback after when he attempted to monopolise the French-East African slave trade — his business rivals forced him out and he left France to manage the family slave plantations in Sainte Domingue Haiti , where he died in The exiled Irishman had personally bought and sold over 12, African slaves and launched 40 cross-Atlantic slave voyages. The Roches, originally from Limerick, where their extended clan included Arthurs and Suttons, managed a mere 11 slave voyages with around 3, slaves.
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Murder, Mutiny and Mayhem by O'shea, Joe
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To learn more see our Cookies Policy. They threw themselves instead into colonial trade, creating numerous trading companies, among them those leading in the Transatlantic slave trade. They also integrated themselves fully into the city of Nantes , marrying the daughters of the local nobility. In Ireland these refugees in France were known as Wild Geese by their detractors.
Murder, Mutiny & Mayhem
Nantes was the foremost port for the Irish trading fleet. Out of sixty Jacobite company headquarters and trading houses in Europe in the midth century, two thirds were based in four ports: 12 in Nantes , 9 in Bordeaux , 8 in Cadiz and a dozen in Stockholm and Gothenburg although these were essentially branch offices. The community also included a large number of priests. Lastly, there were Irish people of more modest rank or means, who generally took on occupations relating to maritime commerce — captains, pilots, coopers and porters.
The standing of the Irish in Nantes grew steadily, if we observe the course of events across three generations. They were joined later on by other Irish refugees following the Glorious Revolution of and the Treaty of Limerick in This wave of emigres was not confined to Nantes. The historian Gabriel Audisio notes the presence of Irish Catholic soldiers in the armies of the Duke of Savoy and of the Marquis of Pianezza, which took part in the bloody repression of the Waldensians during the Piedmont Easter.
He made the Irish the spearhead of his army, and above all of his navy, particularly during the Jamaica Expedition of On 8 June , Irish ships formed the bulk of a fleet of 22 vessels and 1, men which left Nantes under Admiral Jean-Baptiste du Casse , heading for Jamaica. They burned hundreds of houses and seized 1, slaves, whom they took to Saint-Domingue.