Apollon – Godecheau 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.

Cliaude Godecheau, first Lieut’t of said Ship, aged thirty four years. A Witness produced, sworn, & examined by the interpretation of M: A Bianchi, sworn interpreter.

To the first interrogatory, Respondent answers that he was born at Jonvac in Saintonge : has lived these seven years past at the Mauritius : is a Subject of the Republic of France, & is a Burger of Jonvac aforesaid by virtue of Inheritance.

To the second, he answers that he was present on board said Ship at the time of the Capture and that it had a Commission for War, from the Governor of Mauritius.

To the third, He answers, that said ship was taken about the Latitude 10° South; Longitude of Paris, 40° on the 25th of October last, for being a French ship: that she was brought to the Cape of Good Hope, and sailed under French Colours; and had no other Colours on board; that she made no Resistance; was taken by His Britannic Majesty’s Ship of war the Leopard, which fired two guns; and that there was no other ship in sight.

To the fourth, he answers that the Commander’s name was Le Valliant; has known him seven years: that he was appointed to the command of the Ship by the Governor of Mauritius; & received possession of her at said Mauritius from Mr Pitot the owner; that the fixed place of abode of both said Commander and Owner is Mauritius aforesaid, where both are married a& reside : and that said Captain or Commander was born in Britany & is a Subject of the French Republic.

To the fifth, he answers, that Ship in question is of the burthen of One hundred & fifty tons : had one hundred & thirty seven Mariners, all French subjects, that they all came on board at the Ports of Mauritius & Bourbon, and were all hired there by the Owner in the month of August last.

To the sixth, he answers, that he & most of the officers of said Ship had some small share & Interest in her ; which he cannot exactly specify, save that his own was three hundred Spanish dollars: that he did belong to said Ship, when taken, as First Lieutenant: has known her one year & a half; first saw her at Mauritius and knows not where she was built.

To the seventh he answers, that said Ship’s name is Apollo of Boston ; knows not how long she has been so called; nor of any other name for her; had a passport from the Governor of Mauritius; his voyage began at Mauritius; she had touched at the Islands of Bourbon & Madagascar, & at Mozambique; & her voyage or Cruize was to have ended at Mauritius aforesaid. That she had no cargo on board; & further knows not to answer said Interrogatory.

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

To the ninth, he answers, that Mons’r Pitot was the Owner od said ship, at the time she was seized: knows it inasmuch as that he transacted all the business of outfitting said ship: that said Owner is a Frenchman born at St Malois, resides now at Mauritius with his wife & family : knows not where he resided before – and saith he is a Subject of French Republic.

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

To the sixteenth, he answers that there were no paper Bills of lading, letters or other writings, [-] & except the Commission or Passport, on board, before her being taken as prize : and that none were burnt, torn, thrown overboard, destroyed or cancelled, concealed or attempted to be concealed.

To the seventeenth, he answers, that the ship concerning which he is now examind, has been once before seized as prize & condemned as such, That she was then carried into Brest harbour by the French, & condemned as having belonged to the English.

To the eighteenth, he answers, that he hath sustained a loss by the taking of said ship: that he computes the loss as his share was three hundred Spanish dollars and that he hath not received any Indemnity, satisfaction or promise of satisfaction for any part thereof.

To the nineteenth, he answers, that said Ship is not insured.

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

To the twenty fourth, he answers, that the Commission or Passport was taken out of said ship at the time of capture, by the Captain of the Leopard Man of War; but he knows not in whose power or custody it now is.

To the twenty fifth, he answers that there was no [Silk?] in said ship.

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

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

To the twenty ninth he answers that said ship, when taken, was steering for the Les Echelles Islands: and first altered her course to bear down upon the Leopard: and secondly to endeavour to escape, on finding the superior force.

To the first parts of the thirtieth interrogatory Respondent saith that he knows not to answer: but in answer to the latter part, he saith that he verily believes, that if the ship shall be restored, she will belong to the person now adjudged to be the Owner and to no other.

To the thirty first he answers, that said Ship had twelve guns mounted, eight and four pounders – and ammunition proportionate to them, & several Firelocks and sabres: that no warlike or Naval stores were thrown overboard: that they were put on board by public authority, at Mauritius about the month August last.

To the thirty second, he answers, that he hath already set forth, in his preceding answers, according to the best of his belief & knowledge, every circumstance that he knows regarding the real & true property & destination of the said Ship at the time of the capture: and saith that further he cannot depose.

Cleaude Godicheau

Repeated & acknowledged before the judge in presence.