Copy of the Report Presented to the King by M. le Comte de La Luzerne and Approved by His Majesty, March 7, 1788

Pulled from the French Parliamentary archives, this report nominates and appoints M. le Marquis du Chilleau as Governor of the island of Saint-Domingue. As the Naval Minister, one of le Comte de la Luzerne’s responsibilities was to nominate possible candidates for the French colonies in the Caribbean. Despite the fact that Luzerne had to generate a list of multiple candidates, his selection of Chilleau was relatively straightforward, given his previous military service as a Marshall in Germany and in Dominica during the Seven Years War.

Much like the King’s Judgment, this document presents one of the few moments where King Louis XVI directly intervened in events surrounding the grain dispute of 1789. On the original copy, Louis XVI wrote “good,” thereby authorizing Luzerne’s nomination and appointing Chilleau as the Governor of Saint-Domingue.[1] Despite the brevity of the King’s approval, Chilleau’s appointment would directly influence the Metropole’s perception of the colony a year later after Chilleau’s March 31stOrdinance Concerning the Introduction of Foreign Grain”.

[1] These types of documents were commonly issued with the King’s seal of approval and were formulaic in nature, such as the example in this report.

Original
(Copie du mémoire présenté au roi par M. le comte [sic] de La [sic] Luzerne et approuvé par Sa Majesté le 7 mars 1788)


The French text of this Report has already been transcribed and is available through the French Revolution Digital Archive.

Translation:

Many general officers, including those from your naval armies, your ground forces, and even some corporals, request Your Majesty for the position of Governor General of the Island of Saint-Domingue.

I have the honor to place the list [of men] before your eyes.

M………………………………….[1]
M………………………………….
M………………………………….
M………………………………….
M………………………………….
M. le Marquis Du Chilleau [sic], Camp Marshall
M………………………………….
M………………………………….
M………………………………….
M………………………………….
M………………………………….
M………………………………….
Two corporals have also presented themselves.
M………………………………….
M………………………………….

Among these numerous contestants, I see M. le Marquis Du Chilleau [sic] as the most worthy that Your Majesty might entrust with such an important post. He served with distinction in the Leeward Islands[2] during the last war, both as a corporal and as a Camp Marshall. He had been charged with the command of Dominica for four years, and one could only applaud, whether for his civil administration or for the measures he took to defend this newly-conquered island. For these reasons I propose that Your Majesty grant him the [position of] government general of Saint-Domingue.

Below is written in the King’s hand: Good.

To copy, LA LUZERNE.

[1] The names of the other nominees are redacted in the Parliamentary Archives. This translated list preserves that format.

[2] The Leeward Islands/Windward Islands (les îles du Vent) are geographical distinctions made in the Caribbean to distinguish between the Lesser and the Greater Antilles. Dominica is located in the Lesser Antilles and is a Leeward Island.