Apollon – Belcour deposition

In the Vice Admiralty Court
Cape of Good Hope

Apollo of Boston – Le Vaillant Master

25th January 1799

On the standing interrogation administered on behalf of our Sovereign Lord the King.

Louis Belcour, a Boy belonging to said ship, aged thirteen years, a witness produced, sworn, & examined by the interpretation of M: A: Bianchi, sworn interpr[eter].

To the first interrogatory, Respondent answers that he was born in the island of Bourbon; has been at sea these last five months & previously always lived in Bourbon aforesaid; is a Subject of the Republic of France, & never was admitted a Burgher of any place.

To the second, he answers that he was present on board the Ship in question, when she was taken; & that she had a commission to go to sea to look for Prizes; but knows not from whom.

The third, he answers, that he cannot tell in what latitude or longitude; or on what day or month said ship was taken; but thinks it was about three months since: says that said ship was taken because of the war; and was brought to the Cape of Good Hope, and sailed under French colours; and had Danish, American & English colours on board besides; that she […] no resistance, being taken by the English ship the Leopard, which fired nine shots; whilst no other ship was in sight.

To the fourth, he answers, that the captain’s name is Le Valliant; has known him five months: but know not who appointed him or from whom he received possession; but that he resides at the Isle of France; and knows not whether he [is] married, or where he was born; and believes him to be a French Subject.

To the fifth, he answers, that he knows not the b[…] of the Ship; nor the number of the [Men]; but that they are French men; that some of them came on board at the Isle of France, others at the Isle of Bourbon; and knows not who hired them.

To the sixth he answers, that he had no share or Interest in the Ship, nor can he tell whether any of the officers had; that he belonged to the Ship at the time she was taken, as [a] Cadet learning to be a Pilot; has known the ship only for five months; first saw her at the Isle of Bourbon, and knows not where she was from.

To the seventh he answers, that the Ships name is Apollo; knows no other name for her; nor how long she has been so called; knows not of her having any passport, that the voyage began at the Isle of France; whence she called at the Island of Bourbon, the Bay of Lagoa, Mozambique & Madagascar; knows not where her voyage was to have ended; and says she had no cargo on board.

To the eighth, he answers, that she had no lading on board.

To the ninth, he answers, that he knows not the owner of the ship. – and further cannot answer this interrogatory.

10th, 11th 12th, 13th, 14th & 15th…
To the tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth & fifteenth interrogatories, he says he knows not to answer.

To the sixteenth, he answers that he knew of no papers, bills of lading, letters or other writings on board; and that none were burnt, torn, thrown over board, destroyed or cancelled, concealed or attempted to be concealed.

To the seventeenth, he says, he knows not to answer.

To the eighteenth, he answers, that he hath not sustained any loss by the capture of said ship.

19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, & 23rd
To the nineteenth, twentieth, twenty first, twenty second & twenty third Interrogatories, Respondent says he knows not to answer.

To the twenty fourth, he answers, that he knows no paper whatsoever delivered or […] out of said ship.

To the twenty fifth, he answers that he knows not that Bulk was broken.

To the twenty sixth, he answers that there was no passenger on board: that no person whatsoever was secreted or confined: nor was there any of His Britannic Majesty’s Subjects on board.

27 & 28th
To the twenty seventh and twenty eighth Interrogatories, he says he knows not to answer.

To the twenty ninth, he answers, that the ship was steering her course for the Island of Johanna when taken; that she altered her course on seeing the Leopard, first to pursue her, & afterwards to escape her.

To the thirtieth, he answers, that he knows not to answer.

To the thirty first, he answers, that she had twelve guns mounted; several musquets & swords, and gunpowder & balls; and further knows not to answer said interrogatory.

To the thirty second, he answers, that he knows nothing regarding the ship, other than he has already told in his preceding answers; /: to the best of his knowledge & belief :/ and referring thereto, cannot further depose.


Repeated & acknowledged before the judge, in presence of.

Louis Belcour

His mark X