Summary and Info
In 1953 the proprietor of the chateau of Bonneval at La Haye-Aubrée par Routot in the Norman department of Eure presented the French National Archives with a collection of eighteenth-century papers. They had been brought to the chateau by previous owners at the time of the French Revolution. The proprietor was unrelated to these shadowy figures, and the papers concerned neither his family nor the estate. Now deposited at the Archives Nationales in Paris, the 45 cartons of letters and business papers tell the story of the business activities of the Dugard family of Rouen. The earliest item in the collection is a bill of exchange dated 3 January 1658/59, and the last letter is from 1794. Most of the papers concern Roben Dugard, 1704-70, and a number of companies formed by him and several other Rouen merchants, among them the societé du Canada. Dugard and Company, as the societé may be called with less formality, was founded in 1729 to exploit the trade of Canada with France and the West Indies. Soon it directed its attention to the development of a Franco-Caribbean trade independent of its North-Atlantic commerce. The present history is a case study of a business partnership. The size and structure of eighteenth-century French business enterprises, the nature of French business finance, methods and maritime insurance, French commodities of trade and markets, and the relation of French business to government are all examined. So too is the manner and extent of the penetration of French business into Canada and the West Indies.
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