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Page 74 - Alex Storm: Treasure Ship Chameau

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1991/6/1 (1919 reads)
 

dawn broke over the scene of desolation, there were no survivors. The next morning, the inhabitants of small hamlets east of Louisbourg discovered the wreckage of a large vessel, including pul? leys marked with fleur-de-lys. When this news reached Louisbourg the following day, the authorities knew that a king's ship had been lost near Baleine. The officials in the colony, commissaire-ordonnateur Le Normant de Mezy, troop major M. de Bour- vile, and comptroller Antoine Sabatier set out at once to make an inspection of the area. They found the coast from Big Lor? raine to Baleine and beyond strewn with wreckage, including various papers belong? ing to the officers who had been passen? gers on the ship. Even Mr. de Chazel's commission as intendant was found, along with the carving of a camel's head, the ship's figurehead. Hurrying to Kelpy Cove, the scene of the devastation, it became evident that the wreck was complete. The western side of Cape Porto Nova, present- day Woody Point, was covered with, debris. The entire length of Kelpy Cove was strewn with the bodies of victims, most of whom were in a state of undress, testifying to the fury of the sea the night before. Two large sections of the ship's port side had washed ashore on the beach just west of Cape Breton Point. One of the pieces matched the segment at Woody Point, over 2,000 feet away, while the other had car? ried most of the aftercabin with it, having 7 gun ports and containing two bodies "who they believed to be the second captain and the first pilot, and even those bodies were still warm when he touched them." The authorities acted quickly to deal with '~GIANT MacASKILL MUSEUM with Craft Shop and Confectionery/Snack Shop CLOTHING FURNITURE PHOTOGRAPHS INFORMATION GENEALOGY OPEN 9 A.M, to 6 P.M. DAILY till October 8 ADMISSION $1.00/adults * 500/children with parents * Group Rates 2.5 km. from ENGLISHTOWN FERRY on Route 312 the disaster. Three detachments of sol? diers were posted along the shore to save what wreckage they could, the men being promised a share of whatever was found, except the money. Some effort was made to pull the starboard segment ashore but this failed on account of it being so tangled up in submerged rocks.... On 4 October 1725, Father Le Duff wrote from Baleine to Isidore Caulet, his superior in Louis? bourg, stating that he had buried 180 bod? ies "and perhaps more" from the wreck. The other 130 or so were never found. There was no sign that the lower part of the hull had come ashore but it was hoped that some salvage might be made of the guns and the boxes that held the money, particularly since the reef was covered by only a few fathoms of water at low tide. Divers were needed and as there were none on lie Royale equal to the task, De Mezy asked for some from the intendant in Que? bec. "It is quite apparent," he wrote, "that the cannons with part of the deck and lower hull, which contains the money, are in the middle of the cove, in a place where there are no more than a few feet of water." On 10 December 1725 De Mezy in? formed the Minister of the Marine in France that he had made a salvage agree? ment with Pierre Morpain, port captain at Louisbourg. Morpain was to have a third of the value of all articles recovered and brought to Louisbourg. Skilled divers were sent from Quebec but as the season was too advanced, it was not un? til the summer of 1726 that they were able to dive on the wreck. Then another event subsequently delayed Pierre Morpain's sal? vage operations. The small schooner that was being prepared for use as a salvage tender vanished one night, carried off by a few seamen. Commissaire De Mezy wrote Ver? sailles that he suspected the captain of the New England coaster that had been in port to have been behind the theft. The New England captain, however, convinced De Mezy that he was innocent, and the small schoon? er was never heard of again. Morpain found another vessel, but had lost time. It was not until September 1726 that he conducted a search for the hull of the ~ 'mj'BvrPES o' ixn>L ~ CO-OP CO-OP SERVICE STATION ksM' John D. Steele's Sons, Limited MONUMENT CENTRE & DISPLAY 32 William Street 794-2713 NORTH SYDNEY, N. S. (after hours: 794-4411 & 794-3171) A CAPE BRETON INDUSTRY SINCE 1896 74 Kerosene Available Exhaust Repairs Complete Brake Service Motor Vehicle Inspection Minor Repairs Lube • Oil • Greases Top Quality ...at Low, Gasoline... 562-2315 Low Prices 503 PRINCE ST. • SYDNEY, N. S.
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