Having considered André Nageon de l’Estang in Part 1 and his son André Bernardin Nageon de l’Estang in Part 2, and Jean-Marie-Justin Nageon de l’Estang (and his possible father) in Part 3, we now move on to Part 4 and André Bernardin’s son, André Ambroise Nageon de l’Estang.

As before, we start with his timeline (once again courtesy of Jean Claude Duchemin):

André Ambroise Nageon de l’Estang

1745 (1st October): André Ambroise born in Port Louis.
1766 (14th January): marries Perrine Clerjean in Port Louis (she dies on 18th July of the same year)
1768 (13th June): marries Mathurine Louise Françoise Pitel in Grand Port.
1770: birth of a daughter, Marie Jeanne (she dies on 26th october 1779)
1774 (3rd July): birth of a son, Jean Philippe (he dies on 28th September 1779)
1779 (9th February): birth of a daughter, Marguerite Appoline Pélagie
1780 (30th June): birth of a son, Jean Joseph
1786 (7th November): it is announced that André Ambroise owes £10,229 to Thomas Etienne Bolgerd of Port Louis.
1788: birth of a daughter, Françoise Clémentine
1790: moves with his family to Seychelles, as Garde Magasin du Roi (‘Royal Storekeeper’)
1791 (26th December): birth of a son, Etienne Olivier
1798 (3rd February): André Ambroise dies in Mahé, Seychelles.

Incidentally, the tomb of Thomas Etienne Bolgerd (1748–1818), a local bigwig who at one time had 500 slaves, is still visible in Souillac’s Marine Cemetery, though how long that can last before the sea destroys it is a matter for only sad speculation:


(Photograph courtesy of Yann Arthus-Bertrand.)

André Ambroise Nageon in the Seychelles

There are far more mentions of André Ambroise Nageon de l’Estang that relate to his time in the Seychelles than to his time in Mauritius. In April 1790, the Intendant de l’Ile de France appointed him Garde Magasin du Roi, and so he travelled with his family over to the Seychelles with Jean-Joseph Conan, “a surgeon for the royal establishment” and “their common brother-in-law” (according to Deryck Scarr’s very readable “Seychelles since 1770”, pp.11-12), Jean-Francois-Marie Jorre de St Jorre.

On the 19th June 1790 (Scarr, p.14), the heads of ten of the twelve families on the Seychelles “constituted an assembly”, and elected André Ambroise Nageon de l’Estang president. He then read out a letter from the Ile de France inviting the Seychelles to join as a colony (which nobody agreed with), before immediately resigning.

When in 1794 Captain Newcome (briefly) took control of the Seychelles, André Ambroise Nageon de l’Estang was one of the signatories to Article 7 of the capitulation document (found on Henri Maurel’s site here):

Article 7 :

La dite capitulation fait de bonne foi sera garantie par la signature du Commodore Newcome et signée par le commandant militaire et Agent Civil et par trois citoyens habitants des Seychelles représentant le corps des citoyens des Iles Mahé ou Seychelles et Praslin.

* Agreed.

Fait à Mahé, Iles Seychelles, le 17 mai 1794.

* Done on board H.B.M. ship Orpheus, in the roads of Mahé or Seychelles, the 17th May 1794.

Signed Jn Bte Quéau Quinssy                   Henry Newcome
[Pierre] Hangard
[André] Nageon de l’Etang
[Captain H.] Cornier Bellevaut

But sadly, this seems to be as much as there is to be found about André Ambroise Nageon de l’Estang.

Was André Ambroise Nageon the pirate ‘Bernardin Nageon’?

If the two men were the same person, and if the French Republican Calendar dating evidence is also to be trusted, then we can reject the “20 floréal an VIII” (10th May 1800, after André Ambroise’s death) version from the letters in favour of the “20 floréal an III” (9th May 1795) version.

But I have to point out that, as of that particular date, André Ambroise had two sons and two daughters all very much alive: and so the notion that he gave his fabulous treasure and his half-lot of land back in Grand Port in Ile de France to a nephew (probably in France) does immediately seem somewhat shaky.

Moreover, as of 9th May 1795, Seychelles was a neutral country (the families having failed to agree to be a colony of Ile de France in 1790, and having capitulated to Captain Newcome in 1794), so there seems to be no obvious reason why André Ambroise would have been “about to enrol to defend my Country” at all. After all, he had gone native with his family: he was the head of a small number of Seychellois families. Who would he even enrol with, and to do what?

All in all, I think that once you have mentally separated out the ‘Pirate’ of BN1 and BN2 from the ‘Missing Corsair’ of BN3, the only thing that even faintly suggests that André Ambroise Nageon de l’Estang and Bernardin Nageon de l’Estang might have been the same person is the presence of a French Republican Calendar date in the letters: and given that that is something I’m far from certain was a part of the original document, André Ambroise seems not to be our man.

I’d be happy to consider any evidence that seems to suggest otherwise, but if there is any such thing, I haven’t seen it so far.

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