1761-saint-mars-2   1761-saint-mars-1       

GOBELIN dit Saint-Mars, (Saint-Marc, Cinq-Mars), Pierre, first Canadian-born circumnavigator, companion and probably first pilot of Bougainville. Pierre de Saint-Mars (Saint-Marc) was born at Île d’Orléans (opposite Quebec City) in the early part of the eighteenth century. There is no record of his birth there, but the family name is still a common one on that island.
What is certain, is that he embraced a naval career, and served either as an officer in the military or on a privateer, during the Seven Years’ War. He was captured by the British sometime prior to September 1759 and taken a prisoner-of-war to Leeds, England, whence he requested permission to return home after the capitulation of Canada in 1760. His request was denied by the British Admiralty, on the grounds that, as a prisoner-of-war, his situation was not included in the articles of capitulation.
Beyond any doubt he was released after the Treaty of Versailles in 1763 and, like many Canadian-born officers, elected to go to France to further pursue a military career rather than return to a country occupied by a foreign power.
In 1764 he was given his marching orders by the French King to leave on the frigate the Aigle and join Louis-Antoine de Bougainville in the Falkland Islands, and there to follow Bougainville’s orders.
Antoine-Joseph Pernety, in his History of a voyage to the Malouine (or Falkland) Islands in 1763 and 1764 (London, 1771) mentions Bougainville settled the Falklands in February 1764, supposedly with the purpose of indemnifying Acadians and Canadians for their losses sustained during the Seven Years’ War. They apparently were given land on the islands as well as other resources.
Pernety lists the crew of the Aigle according to their rank and charge.
Pierre de Saint-Marc of Île d’Orléans is listed as first pilot of the Aigle.
It is not surprising that a sailor from Île d’Orléans was appointed pilot of the Aigle. For one thing, Bougainville, while aide-de-camp of Montcalm in Canada during the Seven Years’ War, may have met Saint-Mars there. Furthermore, still today, the pilots of Île d’Orléans have a reputation of being excellent sailors, the Saint-Lawrence River being a particularly difficult river to navigate.
J. Lefranc, in Bougainville et ses compagnons (Paris, n.d., 1980s), lists a Pierre de Saint-Mars as one of the men who successfully completed the circumnavigation of the globe, though he is not listed there as a pilot. [Transcript of document 1:]
de l’Amirauté à Londres ce 24e Jan.r 1761.
J’ai presenté aux Seigneurs de l’Amirauté la requete que vous leur avez adressé le 17e du Courant, par laquelle vous sollicitez leur permission de retourner à Quebec votre Païs Natal, vous croyant fondé dans votre demande par la Capitulation du Canada. Je suis chargé de vous faire sçavoir, qu’etant pour lors Prisonnier de Guerre, vous ne pouvez étre compris dans la Capitulation.
Je suis, Monsieur, Votre Serviteur,
[signed:] Harland
[addressed to:] Monsr St Mars, Leeds.

Admiralty, London, 24th Jan. 1761.
I have presented the Gentlemen of the Admiralty with the request you have addressed to them on 17th ct., wherein you solicit their permission to return to Quebec your native country, believing you well-founded in your request through the Capitulation of Canada. I have been charged to inform you that, being at the time prisoner-of-war, you cannot be included in the [articles of] Capitulation.
I am, Sir, Your Servant,
[signed:] Harland
[addressed to:] Mr St Mars, Leeds.
HARLAND, Sir Robert, 1715?-1784, admiral, served in the Mediterranean under Boscawen during the Seven Years’ War, in 1770 was promoted rear-admiral of the blue.
L.s., London, 24 January 1761, addressed to “Monsr St Mars, Leeds”. 1 p. folio, on 2 leaves.

[Transcript of Document 2:]
De Par Le Roy. Il est ordonné au Sr Saint Mars de se rendre à St Malo, pour s’y Embarquer Sur le Vaisseau l’Aigle et aller aux Isles Malouines pour y Servir Sur la barque du Roy aux ordres du Sr de Bougainville & Nerville Commandant auxdites Isles Et Suivant la destination qu’il luy donnera. fait a Compiegne le Premier Aoust 1764.
[signed:] Louis.
[wafer seal]
[countersigned:] Le Duc De choiseul (with flourish).

By the King. It is ordered to Sieur Saint mars to proceed to St Malo, where he will embark on the Vessel l’Aigle under the orders of Sieurs de Bougainville & Nerville Commanders at the said Islands and that he will follow the destination he will be ordered to. Given at Compiegne the First of August 1764.
[signed:] Louis.
[wafer seal]
[countersigned:] Le Duc De choiseul (with flourish).

LOUIS XV, 1710-1774, King of France, 1715-1774.

CHOISEUL, Étienne-François, Duc de Choiseul, Comte de Stainville, secretary of state under Louis XV.  D.s., Compiègne, 1 August 1764. 1 p. lge. folio, with wafer seal, splitting at folds, minor water-stains.
Both documents are preserved in a leather-bound slipcase with binder’s title “Pierre de St-Mars, compagnon de Bougainville”.

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